13 Tips To Nail, Not Fail, Your Presentations From Now On

13 Tips To Nail, Not Fail, Your Presentations From Now On

Doing a good job on a presentation can be hard. Not anymore!

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Class presentations can be nerve-wracking. There's a lot of pressure on you to do well, and you feel judged by both the professor and your classmates. Not to mention, you have to prepare a PowerPoint presentation that's being graded on top of whatever you actually say.

NO MORE. Follow these tips, and you'll be well-prepared with near-perfect slides!

1. Keep the text to a minimum.

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make, even when the professor emphasizes that you shouldn't do this. You really don't need to put every single thing you're going to say on the slides--and shouldn't! Only put on the main points, because that's the important stuff you're expanding on as you speak. If you have sub-points, bullet them under the main point--but only use key words and short sentences. Keep all the smaller things in your notes.No one wants to read your slide, they want to hear you talk about it! (Plus your professors will probably take points off if you do this.)

2. Follow the 7 by 7 rule.

My co-leader of my Odyssey chapter told me about this rule. Essentially, you should have a maximum of 7 bullet points per slide with 7 words per bullet point. Full sentences aren't required. This can be a really handy way to cut down on the amount of text you have on your slides, and figure out exactly which information is the most important and should be up there.

3. Please don't read off your slides...

There is nothing more irritating--and boring--than when someone just reads what's on the screen. Doing this is a surefire way to make sure everyone in the class is bored and not listening. And why should they bother to listen if they can just read all the information? Your slides are meant to be a visual aid that highlight your main points, not give your presentation for you! Show you know what you're talking about and look at the audience, not the slides.

4. ...and please look up from your notes!

If you look down the whole time at your notes, it'll be harder for everyone to hear you. Besides, you should be familiar with the information you're presenting by this point. If you're still reliant on your notes, try to look down sporadically rather than keeping them down the whole time. It's not the end of the world if you miss a couple of minor details.

5. You don't need images or GIFs on every slide.

This is one I learned the long way. I got so used to teachers and professors stressing visually interesting slides, that I thought I needed at least one image or graphic on each slide. DEFINITELY not the case. Doing this just creates distracting clutter on your slides. Keep it simple, and only add images when they'll emphasize what you're talking about. For example, if you're presenting on a person, include pictures of them.

6. Actually, just avoid GIFs altogether.

For one, it's hard to be taken seriously when you have something as casual as a GIF on your presentation. They can also be a distracting from what you're saying and the onscreen text. If you're going to use a GIF, either put it on a slide that you'll be going through quickly or make sure it's absolutely relevant to the content. For example, if you're doing a presentation on a TV show or movie, then it's acceptable. Just don't overdo it!

7. Stick to clean themes.

PowerPoint and Google Slides both offer different themes for the slides' backgrounds. Be sure you're choosing one that still leaves room for your text, and won't make the text seem crowded! And definitely don't use a picture as the background, especially if you're going to put text over it. Text over an image will be unreadable and create too busy a scene.

8. Keep the fonts simple.

If the fonts you're using aren't easy to read, then it won't matter what you put up there. Stick to simple fonts like Calibri, Ariel, Montserrat, and anything else that doesn't involve looping or script. This goes for header text as well -- otherwise, how will anyone know what you're talking about?

9. Keep away from bright colors and remember, less color is more. 

Please don't use bright colors against a white screen. No one will be able to read it, including you! Stick with black or darker colors against lighter backgrounds and white or lighter colors against darker backgrounds. Also, stick to about 2 colors for fonts throughout the slides. Keep it consistent, rather than changing it up for each slide!

10. PRACTICE.

This sounds obvious, but I've sat through many a presentation where it was clear the person hadn't practiced beforehand. Practicing your presentation can help you memorize the information so you're not looking down at your notes every few seconds. It'll also help you feel more confident once you get up there, because the words are familiar by now.

11. Time yourself while you practice.

There is not a single class where your presentation won't have a time limit. I've seen people who clearly didn't do this and either went below or way over the time limits. Timing your presentation can help you figure out if you need to include more or less information, and ensure you don't lose precious points for timing!

12. HAVE GOOD NOTES!

This one is important. You can have perfect-looking slides, but if you don't have notes to go with it, you're kind of screwed. Having everything you plan to say in the presentation written down not only makes you look more prepared, but ensures you don't forget anything important! Additionally, the act of writing it down is a great memorization technique.

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50 Of The Best Party Themes

Get your party on.
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Hello all you party people! If you're looking for an awesome party theme, you've come to the right place. I have spent my freshman year of college personally investigating the mysteries that are frat parties, exchanges and house parties. Well, not really all of them, but I do hear things. Don't worry about any creativity blocks before your next big bash. Let me do the thinking for you.

1. Rumble in the jungle.

This is a theme that alludes to that famous match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. And for those that have no idea what I am talking about, it means you dress up like jungle animals. No matter which way you dress up, this theme is sure to be a 'hit.'

2. March madness.

Everybody loves college basketball, right? Wrong. But no one will oppose a theme that lets the guests wear a comfy jersey all night. If you're just really against college sports or basketball in general, you can always dress up as a "mad" person or one of my favorites, the Mad Hatter. Your guests are sure to go "crazy" over this party theme.

3. Olympics.

During a year when the Winter Olympics held, this can be an interesting party theme. Your guests can dress up as a famous team member or as a new participant in the games. They can "sport" the colors of their favorite country.

4. Shipwrecked.

It's a party set on a wrecked boat on an island. You can import sand and build a pool. Everyone can come in sailing outfits, Hawaiian shirts or swimsuits. This theme is sure to make a "splash."

5. Rock 'n roll.

Eighties rock and roll is one of the greatest themes of all time. Big hair, leather and head banging make any party better. Get your buddies together and rock those old band shirts. And once the hairspray settles out of the air, enjoy the "rockin'" outfits your friends put together.

6. Down in the denim/jexchange/jarty.

Oh the amount of clothing that can be found in denim. With this theme, everyone dresses in as much denim as they can possibly find. No one will be feeling "blue" when they walk into the party decked out in good ol' dungarees.

7. Country club.

Golf, tennis, visors and gloves are all on the list for this awesome party. No one can say "no" to golf shoes and tennis skirts. These puns are getting difficult.

8. Duck calls and overalls.

Everyone gets to dress up in camo, overalls or as a duck. Don't forget those great noise makers, often heard at sporting events where ducks are nowhere to be found. Everyone will love this awesome theme. It's also a great rhyme.

9. When I grow up.

Dress up in the outfit you would wear as a grownup. What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor, artist, teacher? They're all great choices with this theme.

10. Cool in middle school.

Everyone wears what was cool when they were in middle school. Break out those Abercrombie shirts and UGG boots. It's time to take a travel back in time to those great days of junior high.

11. Out of this world.

Aliens and astronauts are a match made in heaven. Dress up in space gear or in glitter as a fashionable alien. This is an awesome theme to show your creativity.

12. "American Horror Story."

This makes a great Halloween theme. Everyone can dress up as a character from their favorite season. This makes for great conversations and debates about the many different turns the show has taken.

13. Hunt or be hunted.

Hunters and animals are on the agenda for this great party. Camo and deer face paint are some staples of these awesome bashes. Have a great time, but don't prey on anyone too hard.

14. Drafted date.

Get your date to dress up as a team player with you. Draft them to your team and make them your next big star.

15. Spring break.

Parties, swim suits, sand and water are all on the checklist for this theme. Party like it's spring break. No one will think you're crazy for buying 50 pounds of sand from Home Depot.

16. Fright night.

Dress up like the scariest thing you can think of. This is another great Halloween party idea. Just make sure to warn the neighbors so there aren't too many unnecessary scares.

17. Rome in the foam.

Toga! Toga! Toga! Yes, it's a foam party and a toga party all in one. "What's better than a toga party?" you ask. Well add some foam and find out for yourself.

18. Fiesta.

Everyone loves a good Cinco de Mayo party. Margaritas and tacos are on the menu for this awesome theme that is good for anytime of the year (not just May).

19. Let freedom ring.

It's a patriotic party for everybody to go all out with their red, white, and blue gear. Celebrate America while having a great time with all of your friends.

20. Red carpet.

Famous people can come from anywhere today. Dress up like those that have already made it big and see who can guess the identities of all the guests at the party.

21. Fat Tuesday.

Mardi Gras, Pardi Gras! Yep, that's right. Purple, green and gold can never look terrible together. Get all dressed up and party like Lent starts tomorrow with this awesome theme.

22. Rhyme or reason.

Find a date/friend and dress up as two items that rhyme or as a phrase that makes sense. Rock, paper, scissors is a great phrase for a group of three friends. Have fun and get creative with this fun theme.

23. Happy New Year

Fireworks, champagne, and GLITTER are necessary for this awesome theme. Celebrate any time or throw an actual New Years party. That's up to you.

24. Derby Days

Bowties, sunhats, and pastel colors are all on the list for this awesome party to mimic the great Kentucky Derby. Break out the Vineyard Vines and boat shoes as you celebrate the preppy world that surrounds these famous horse races.

25. What Happens In Vegas

Blackjack and poker are {on the table} with this great theme. Pass out chips and let everyone see who can win the most by the end of the night.

26. Glow What You Know

Grab all the glowsticks you can find and turn off the lights. Watch as all of the glowing bracelets and necklaces move around the room. This is a {BRIGHT} idea for any occasion.

27. Buds With Buds

This one is a pretty simple idea. Gather a bunch of your buddies together and crack open a few Buds (that's Budweisers). This is a great laid back party theme.

28. Speakeasy With Gatsby

A '20s themed party is so fun. Flappers and gangsters can file into your speakeasy. As the music starts playing everyone can start to swing dance and have a little fun.

29. Ugly Sweater

Christmas sweaters and Irish sweaters are all options for this great party theme. Everybody loves ugly sweaters.

30. Alice In Wonderland

Get your friends to dress up as the mad hatter, the queen of hearts, the chesire cat, or the mad hare. It'll all be great with some tea and sugar on the table.

31. Hero's Weakness

Couples and groups can dress up as superheros and their coresponding weaknesses. Superman and Kryptonite would be a good idea. Iron Man and Pepper Potts maybe? The options are endless.

32. Spy Next Door

This is a super secret theme that allows your guests to dress up in all black as awesome spies. Keep the fun going with an interesting mystery running through the party.

33. Seeing Red

Everyone wears red. Serve red drinks. Take the color and make everything about that color. You don't have to pick red. Blue, green, black, white, yellow, and orange are all good colors too.

34. Disney Through The Ages

Dress up as your favorite Disney characters from all through the ages. You can even dress up as your favorite version of the character.

35. Flannels and Handles

Everyone dresses in Flannel shirts and they bring a handle with them to help with fueling the party. Everything will be fun and cozy with this lumberjack-esque party.

36. Hawaiian Luau

Everybody loves a Luau. Hawaiian lais are a great accessory for this party. Add a coconut bra and everybody will have a good time with tiki torches and flame throwers.

37. Pajama Party

Everyone gets to wear their comfy pajamas and curl up for a good movie marathon. What is better than hanging with friends in comfy pajamas while watching movies?

38. Hometown Throw Down

This one is a fun theme. Everyone dresses up in something that is from or reminds them of their hometown. From school uniforms to famous foods, the outfits your friends show up in will be awesome.

39. Mathletes and Athletes

So geeks and jocks are natural enemies right? Well except for when it comes to doing homework. Whichever one your friends decide to dress up as, this theme will make for great pictures and memories.

40. White Trash

Dress like the redneck that is hiding deep down inside you. Get out the wife-beater tank tops and the maybe a fake mullet and mustache. Everyone can have fun with this theme.

41. High School Stereotypes

The stereotypical cheerleader, jock, nerd, or hipster will make for great inspiration for this theme. Your friend group will be great with this theme as they enjoy looking back on their high school selves.

42. ABC (Anything But Clothes)

Now, anything but clothes sounds a bit odd, but it gets really awesome when you and your friends get really creative. Trashbags, Duct tape, and caution tape makes for very interesting outfits. Get crafty and come up with a great idea.

43. Under The Sea

Mermaids and sharks and anything else you can find under the sea will be amazing for this theme. The more you dress up, the better the party will be.

44. Rags To Riches

Dress up as the top or bottom 1%. From fancy suits to blankets in buggies, this party will be an awesome way to see just how fancy or how down your friends can become.

45. Graffiti Party

Everyone wears a plain white t-shirt and brings sharpie markers to draw with. Let others draw and write on your shirt and see what messages you end up with at the end of the night.

46. Name Game

For this theme everyone dresses up as something that starts with the same letter as their name. I, Kay-Lynn, would dress up as a kickboxer or a kangaroo. This is a fun and creative theme for the crafty friend group.

47. Four Seasons

Everyone picks a season and dresses accordingly. Swimsuits and flip flops are for summer. Jackets and boots are perfect for winter. A summer party with people in their winter garmets would be a sight to see.

48. Around The World

Everyone gets to dress up as a place to travel to around the world. London, France, Germany, and China are all great places to visit and dress up as. Enjoy your great trip without having to leave the comfort of your home.

49. Black Light

Oh what a fun time black lights are. Replace regular light bulbs with black lights and tell everyone to wear white and neon colors to make for a bright party. Add some strobe lights into the mix to make it even more fun.

50. Jail Break

Last but not least, this theme is great for everyone to have fun with. Everybody gets to dress up like convicts that have escaped from prison. Jump suits and hanging handcuffs are great outfit pieces for this party theme.

I hope that these themes will serve you well as you decide what spectacular party to throw next. Enjoy and remember: Don't take any of these too seriously!

Cover Image Credit: Kay-Lynn Klug

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It Is 100% OK To Transfer Schools, Don't Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise

There's no shame in the school you picked not feeling like home.

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"Just give it some time", "But my (insert family member) loved it there", "Give it a chance, you'll come to love it", "Why would you want to start all over again?", "You aren't even trying to like it". These are just a few of the things that I've heard in the past few months since I decided that I wanted to transfer. When I first announced I was transferring I either heard a variation of some of the phrases above, got confusing looks, or received a disapproving stare from people who were fans of the school. Friends I had made here started to resent me because I was leaving.

At first, these things made me feel pretty upset and wonder if I was truly making the right decision in transferring. Everyone was giving me reasons to stay and saying that I truly wasn't giving this place a chance. Friends were abandoning me and leaving me. I had no idea whether to listen to my heart or to those around me. I started apologizing to people for wanting to transfer, but then I realized something:

I don't have to apologize for chasing after my happiness.

Ever since I got to my current college, I've never truly been happy. There have been moments of happiness here and there, but overall I've been miserable. Every second I'm away from this place is a good day for me. I knew since day one that this university was not my home. So to those of you who say I didn't give it a chance or that I wasn't trying to like it, I did. In fact, I gave it till winter break to get better and it never did. No, I do not have to like it just because someone in your family liked it or even if you liked it. Life is all about moving forward and facing challenges. I don't shy away from the fact that I'll have to start over again. In fact, I embrace it and welcome it as a challenge. So to anyone else who wants to transfer, this I give to you.

It is 100% OK to transfer schools. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

You don't have to apologize for transferring. You don't even have to give people a reason for you wanting to transfer. You live your life for yourself and no one else. It's not their business as to why you're doing what you want with your happiness. Your four years of college should be an enjoyable experience, not a miserable one. You should walk on campus and feel like you're finally home. But if the school you're at right now is not home, that's fine. You'll find your home one day. In addition, if you have a friend who wants to transfer, support them. Don't shut them out and distance yourself from them just because they're leaving soon. Cherish the time you have left and make the most of it. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and I believe that transferring schools happens for a reason.

It shows us that we deserve to always search for our happiness.

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