How to make the new school year successful

10 Tips On How To Make The New School Year The Best It Can Be

School doesn't have to be cringe-worthy!

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I know the end of the summer can include feelings of anxiety even thinking about getting into the routine of school again. For me, it can definitely be an adjustment at the beginning, but it doesn't have to be a necessarily difficult one. Instead of cringing at the thought of the beginning of the new semester, focus on ways to make it more enjoyable and successful than previous semesters.

1. Prepare for the upcoming semester. 

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Buy the appropriate materials you need such as books, notebooks, study utensils, and whatever you else you may need for your classes.

Preparing ahead of time will ensure you are not rushing around your college's student store to find these items. This will make the first few days of class a little easier on you.

2. Prioritize your responsibilities and utilize a planner.

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Lists are a great way to know and keep track of what you need to get done. It is recommended to rate your tasks in some sort of order such as what is due first or what is most important and work your way down your list.

3. Make a list of long-term and short-term goals. so you have a hard copy to reference to keep you on track with what you want to accomplish.

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If one of your goals is to become a better writer, then consider also taking advantage of resources provided on your college's campus such as a writing center which has the tools you need to improve.

Then you can easily keep track of what you want to accomplish.

4. Treat yourself for achieving goals as you go.

Food is definitely a great motivator for me!

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Some people are considered to be motivated extrinsically so this means you may enjoy rewards such as food, praise from peers, or receiving a scholarship. Others are more positively motivated by intrinsic rewards such as going to the gym because it relieves stress, reading a specific genre because you enjoy it, or studying for a test because you want to do well on it. Find out what motivates you and incorporate small rewards for your victories along the way.

5. Do what makes you the happiest and healthiest version of yourself.

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I personally enjoy being able to be active in various ways such as going to the gym to work out or walking around greenways to get a view of nature.

6. Fill your life with friends and family that lift you up. 

Everyone needs a Joey in their life!

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After all, you are who you surround yourself with. Think about the people in your life and decide if they make you a better person on a daily basis or not and then go from there.

7. Learn how to manage your time more wisely.

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I know we all have various organizations we are a part of, class to attend, tests to study for, social lives, and more. Even with all of those different aspects of life, they can all still be juggled. Instead of spending an hour watching a Netflix show, you can read a chapter of your textbook instead to prepare for class. There are many small and simple changes that can make your life more manageable.

8. Develop study times during the week.

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Find a quiet area free from distractions including your cell phone! Take the time to assess how you learn best as well and use various studying techniques that best accommodate your individual learning style. For example, the needs of a visual learner will be different from the needs of an auditory learner and so forth.

9. Be able to manage your money.

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Having a lack of monetary resources is a major stressor for many college students.

Try to keep track of your spending because a lot of people underestimate how much they spend in the first place. Also, consider coming up with a budget plan that fits your individual needs and stick to it. Be realistic about your goals or needs when it comes to spending and saving. Try to think of some ways you can reduce your spending such as eating out less often.

10. Show up for class and get to know your professors.

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Often times just being in class is half the battle and participation/attendance is usually a good portion of the overall course grade so don't lose the easy points. Do the best you can to be present in class and ask questions so the professor knows you are paying attention. It is wise to have a good relationship with your professors because they will be able to help you if you ever need them and you will feel like you can talk to them.

Just remember that the beginning of a new semester does not have to feel like a daunting task especially if you take advantage of some of these ways to improve your overall experience.

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

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To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.

Sincerely,

The nursing student with just one year left.

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5 Reasons Why I Love Being a Psychology Major

By learning about others, you can also learn more about yourself.

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I have always grown up interested in people: what they do, why, and what makes them who they are. We are all created the same way, but from the moment after birth, we all undergo drastically different experiences. Some people were born into wealthy families, ones that never worried about money, while others were born into the lower class who struggled to simply put food on the table. Some individuals grew up in extremely religious households, while others did not. None of us have the same life experience; your friend, neighbor, or stranger you just passed have all seen different things that have shaped you all in unique ways. For me, Psychology is the field that helps us not only better understand each other, but also, ourselves. So here are 5 reasons why I love being a psychology major:

1. Both NATURE & NURTURE make a person.

No one thing is responsible for you being you. Psychologists and scientists use to argue over whether an individual is a result of genetics (nature) or from their environment (nurture); typically, implying home environment or parenting. Today we don't understand this concept as an either/or debate but as a combination of both. Yes, there are genes and biological factors which make individuals more likely to behave a certain way, genes which may indicate certain psychological disorders or predispositions; however, without a particular environment, these genes may never activate within an individual. One example is the "warrior gene", MAOA, which is linked to higher aggression in individuals; furthermore, it is often a predictor of psychopathy. Many individuals may have this gene; however, if the environment they were raised does not activate this gene, its effects may be negligible. Simply having a gene does not mean it will cause behavior or trait, only that it is possible.

2. One's perception of a situation is critical.

In psychology, the objective reality of a situation is not usually the main concern, but actually how one perceives or understands that situation. For example, a woman sent to rehab for self-medicating her chronic pain will see her situation vastly different than from a doctor. A doctor would likely see her self-medication as a drug problem, but the woman may understand the problem as chronic pain. Health Psychology particularly aims at understanding one's perceptions of health and aiding to correct unhealthy or risky behaviors. One's perception is just as important as reality because it will dictate individuals' behaviors. If we understand how we perceive our health, safety, or other obstacles in life can help to correct behaviors or find better solutions.

3. I am aware of the cognitive biases all around us.

Psychology connects to many fields, particularly neuroscience. Learning how the brain works, which parts of the brain process which functions, and the behaviors that result allow us to better understand an individual's decision in a certain situation. It can also tell us how the brain can be fooled in cognitive biases. Simply how a question is framed, or what an individual is primed with, can affect one's decision-making abilities; one kind of cognitive bias is the Framing Effect. When asked the same question, but framed as either a gain or a loss, individuals tend to make drastically different decisions. Our brain, specifically the amygdala, tends to avoid certain losses and uncertain gains. Understanding the brain and underlying psychology can help us be more informed, and make decisions not influenced by others.

4. I understand the power of conformity.

The power of conformity is strong; I mean, who doesn't want to belong? Psychology brings awareness to the impact of one's situation on our behavior, studied thoroughly in Social Psychology, but also how other individuals can. Psychologist Asch created a study where single participants had to determine if line A, B, or C was the same length as the example, in a room of confederates who said the wrong answer. The results of the study showed that the majority of participants went along with whatever answer the confederates all gave, even when the participant knew the Confederates' answers were incorrect. It can be hard to go against the crowd. An issue that psychology brings to light; however, I believe psychology gives us the tools to understand the pressure and break away from it. Psychology gives us power (knowledge) to combat issues like conformity.

5. I learn more and more about myself.

By studying how the brain works, you, in turn, are learning about how your own body functions. In Personality Psychology, you gain a better understanding of where your traits came from and how you may be influenced in situations (i.e. are you likely to try new foods and experiences? Are you a person high on openness?). While learning about the power of the situation and one's subjective construal (or perception) on a situation, you can potentially see through the stereotypes, cognitive biases, and incorrect assumptions made by individuals every day. By learning about other people, and why they behave a certain way, we can better understand ourselves.

Psychology is a field of many fields. Whether you prefer to do psychological research or finding out the secrets of our minds, or you rather be hands-on, by assisting in behavioral modification or therapies, psychologists help people in many different ways. This field not only helps you to learn about others but also yourself. A field which will open your eyes and mind to the misconceptions or assumptions we may make on a daily basis, and understand how that can influence our behavior.

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