Top Tips to Help College Students Adjust to Campus Life Wednesday, Oct 20 2021 

By Jacob Maslow–Branded Content

So, you’re heading off to college, where you’ll begin your exciting journey of self-discovery, new relationships, and academia. Your university years change you, and during this time, you’ll make unforgettable memories – both good and bad – and gain friendships to last a lifetime. While college life is a fantastic time, it doesn’t come without its hardships. To help you get through the ups and downs, we have a few dos and don’ts that will ensure you get the most out of these incredible years.

Make Time to Chill Out 

It’s not all about working hard or playing hard. Taking the time to unwind is just as crucial as social events and study time. Making time for relaxing is easy with a few everyday routines – take a bath, exercise, enjoy a walk, read a book, or listen to music while vaping your favorite flavor. A popular choice of vape is the Mighty Vaporizer by Storz & Bickel – it is easy to maintain and built to last. So whatever it is you enjoy doing, make time for that activity every day, and you will thank yourself later.

Get Involved

Seek friendships, go to as many campus social events as possible, and enroll in clubs – all of which enrich your university experience. In doing so, you’ll nurture your current hobbies and interests, discover new ones, and find your social niche. Getting involved and staying socially active ensures you have fun and feel good during your college years. If you can imagine it, there’s probably a club for it – and if there isn’t, why not start your own? 

Organize Your Time and Don’t Skip Out

Attendance is required for academic success, which should be your top priority, along with taking good care of your health – both physical and mental. Skip class, and you’ll find yourself with declining grades that result in overwhelming academic stress. Homework and assignments are given for a reason – to enhance your learning, you must complete them if you want to succeed. Organize your time throughout the week so that you have enough hours and energy to attend classes, complete assignments, and study, as well as fit in space for self-care, relaxation, hobbies, and social events.

Don’t Party Too Much

It’s all too easy to forget why you’re at college in the first place. Don’t let your grades, learning, and your health suffer because of too much partying. Moderation and prioritizing are key. Learn to balance your social life with your classes, homework, goals, and deadlines so that you can enjoy the college experience while getting the grades you deserve. Plus, it’s vital to avoid causing harm to yourself and others – that means if you choose to party and consume alcohol, it’s wise to do so responsibly.  You should also learn to be assertive with people, communicate properly, and acquire the valuable life skill of knowing when to say no. Do not go looking for love in wrong places either. The party scene in college can be deceiving. You need to know how to protect yourself. 

Stay on Campus Where Possible

College is usually when many young people experience autonomy and independence for the first time. Getting the most authentic college life experience involves living away from home – where mom and dad aren’t there to do your laundry, cook your dinner and wash your dishes. So, opt to stay on campus or nearby if that choice is available to you. 

Eat Well and Sleep Well

In the craziness and excitement that is college, it’s easy to forget the essential things. Good food and healthy sleep patterns are essential for thriving in this fantastic time of your life. Ensure you’re getting all your vitamins and minerals in the form of a balanced diet – that means don’t get lazy and indulge in pizzas, burgers, and too much takeout food. Instead, make an effort to cook or buy healthy meals more often than you overeat on junk. Combine a good diet with a disciplined sleep pattern, and you’ll be well on your way to success. Also, minimize the late nights and sleeping in as much as you can.

Have a Positive Attitude

Practice being upbeat, optimistic, and tolerant of yourself and other people. Positivity and open-mindedness are infectious, and practicing these traits will make you feel better about yourself and college in general while attracting other like-minded positive people into your life. 

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Maslow//Cosmic Press

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Incoming freshmen: Here’s how to prep for you first college semester Wednesday, Mar 31 2021 

By Catherine Brown–

Many prospective students will be receiving their acceptance letter from the University of Louisville soon. And while the college experience during the COVID-19 pandemic might look slightly different than your high school experience. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the best out of your college experience.

 

Come prepared.

Read the syllabus before the beginning of the semester to know what your professor expects from you.

In fall 2021, U of L will offer face-to-face and 100% distance education class options. Although classes will be marked as either 100% digital or face-to-face, professors can incorporate hybrid elements to their class. Ensure that the class meets in a way that you feel comfortable.

If you plan to live on-campus, make sure your housing situation allows you to be as safe as possible while being considerate of others. Bring plenty of masks with you and sanitize surfaces in your room often. If you live with a roommate, give them plenty of space within the room. If this makes you uncomfortable, consider living at home for at least one semester.

Have a contingency plan just in case you or someone you came into contact with catches the virus. Meet with other students in your classes virtually who can help you make up assignments or give you class notes.

 

Budget your money well.

As a college student, you’re going to be faced with several choices throughout your college career. For some of us, budgeting is a bigger issue during the pandemic. 

Don’t just buy all of your textbooks before the school year starts. The best tip to avoid breaking the bank is to wait until you get through your first week of classes to start purchasing textbooks. Give yourself time so that you can determine how serious the professor is about using the assigned reading.

Along the same vein–don’t purchase your textbooks from the bookstore unless you can’t find cheaper alternatives. Take time to shop around for an online version or rental copy of your textbook. Use the book’s ISBN to search on Amazon and Chegg for cheaper versions. The ISBN is located on the back near the barcode or within the first few pages of the book, it should start with the numbers 978 and be 13 digits long.

Take advantage of student discounts. Once you have access to your U of L email account, you have access to student discounts on many platforms including Amazon Prime, Spotify and Apple Music to name just a few.

Students also get all of Adobe’s Creative Cloud products for free, as well as, free visits to the Speed Art Museum (located on campus), and free TARC fare. The TARC, or the Transit Authority of the River City, is Louisville’s public bus transport system and can get you anywhere in the city.

These discounts could end up being life savers when you need textbooks shipped or don’t feel comfortable shopping in-person. Student’s Cardinal Card and email address offer great opportunities for students to cope with stress and take their mind off of things at any point during the semester.

 

Give yourself time to breathe.

Don’t schedule classes so close together. Give yourself time to travel between classes. If your class schedule requires you to travel to the other side of campus in just 10 minutes, you might be scheduling your classes incorrectly. Keep travel time in mind and make sure you have at least 15 minutes between the end of one class to the start of another. You never know when a professor might hold you later than expected.

If you attend all of your classes online, you might want to avoid scheduling classes so close together, too. With classes so close together, you could end up with burnout from Zoom fatigue and become overwhelmed from the constant meetings. Take at least 15 minutes to yourself between online classes at minimum.

The past three semesters have been unconventional. You probably didn’t expect your college experience to be so abnormal.

The college experience is supposed to include in-person classes and learning with their fellow peers about topics that they want to potentially dedicate their lives to,” said Abby Huether, a writer for Colorado State University’s features magazine College Avenue.

“But due to COVID-19, college students this semester were forced to make a choice between either continuing their education, which might mean potentially lower-value classes, all while paying the same tuition, or taking a semester off, leaving many students floundering with no idea of what to do with their life,” Huether said.

We all need to take a breather once in a while.

 

Most important of all–keep yourself healthy.

If you plan to take face-to-face classes, remember to keep your mask over your mouth and nose at all times and stay socially distanced from others.

Destiny Smith, a sophomore nursing major, recommends that all students wear a mask, wipe down surfaces that they touch, and wash their hands after leaving every class.

Be in tune with your mental wellbeing, as well. When you start to feel overwhelmed, look for ways to cope with this stress. The university’s Counseling Center offers a helpful toolkit for students to follow with tips and resources.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Online advice: Don’t let COVID-19 get you behind Wednesday, Aug 26 2020 

By Maria Dinh —

As a response to COVID-19, the university has offered hybrid, distance and remote courses for the fall 2020 semester. Students are either attending in-person classes a couple times a week, meeting synchronously through Blackboard/Zoom or completing distance ed courses online. Professors have also given students the option to complete their hybrid course 100% online only for those who don’t want to attend class half in-person, half online.

Logging into a remote class in a full household can feel really chaotic. Working in the comfort of home can be unmotivating and distracting. Here is some advice for an online working environment:

Have a Designated Work Area.

Not everyone is blessed with a private home office to do all of their studying. Work on a desk or a kitchen table, hopefully near a good Wi-Fi connection.

It is recommended that students wear headphones with a microphone during a conference so they can focus on the lecture and participate. On Blackboard, there can be an echo during online lecture when the microphone is on. Make sure the microphone setting is muted so others can listen to the professor.

Junior CIS major Tatiana Aliaga-Mendoza had to transition from in-person to remote learning in the Spring of 2020. Aliaga-Mendoza said she keeps the essentials on her desk when she’s in class.

“I always have some water with me, my planner to write down assignments, a notebook since it’s harder to take notes on my laptop, and maybe a snack if I have back to back lectures,” she said.

Plan a Work Schedule.

Maintaining a work schedule is essential to staying on top of things.

Talk with roommates/family members on a work schedule to have quiet times for synchronous lectures on Blackboard or Zoom. Working from home can be distracting so it is important to stick to a focused routine.

Set reminders.

It’s important to maintain schoolwork and remember deadlines for assignments.

Distance ed courses don’t meet a couple times a week like in-person classes do. Distance ed courses are more lenient, but have important dates for assignments and exams. Writing down assignments in a planner or Google Calendar are a great way to stay organized. Download the Blackboard app and Microsoft Outlook app with notifications on for when professors make an announcement.

Review recorded lectures.

On Blackboard, there is a menu bar where recorded lectures are located for students to go back and watch what they might have missed. Some professors use Panopto for recorded lectures.

This program has shortcuts where students can click on the title of the slide and the video jumps on the time bar where the professor talks about the slide. Panopto even has a section for taking notes synchronized to the time of the recording.

 

So is it worth it to attend classes if the option is given?

“I think there is a lot of value to students learning in the classroom setting,” Brian Barnes, a philosophy professor at U of L said. “As a student, I found classroom interactions with faculty and other students to be invaluable for my learning. On the other hand, I don’t believe I should use my platform as a professor to coerce students into showing up when they feel unsafe during a public health emergency. The class interactions are recorded, and I believe that many students are capable of making good decisions about structuring their learning with online content. Again, much is lost in this format, but I do think it’s important that students have an option to learn in an environment where they feel safe.”

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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