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29 Tips To Earn An Oscar (A.K.A. Your College Degree)

Overwhelming college stress can feel like you’re drowning on the Titanic. Or better yet, the struggle of earning your degree can resemble Leonardo DiCaprio’s struggle to earn an Oscar. Below are 29 tips to make the transition from high school to college as smooth as possible, with help from DiCaprio.

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1. Digress From Stress

This seems cliché, but the physical act of smiling has been proven to decrease stress and brighten your mood.

Having happy pictures of your family, friends, significant others, or your pets around you will make you smile every time you look at them.

2. Be One With Nature

Not only do plants purify the air, they also are proven to help calm you down. Despite your popularity status in school, we're all just humans at the end of the day and the soothing effects of nature should not be overlooked.

Fill your dorm room with plants like these to induce your relaxation response.

3. Soak Up Those Rays

It is common to feel tired, unproductive, and depressed if you are being deprived of sunlight from sitting in your dorm all day.

Just 5 minutes of being outside can increase your happy hormones and help you get back on your feet.

4. Feel Your Best For The Test

If you experience test anxiety, then you should start today to separate the feeling of stress with the topic of tests.

Try meditating or imagining your body becoming light and fluffy such as whipped cream cheese to begin to associate tests with being relaxed.

5. Stop Yourself From Stopping Yourself

Don’t approach challenging classes and projects with the attitude that you’ll never be good enough (fixed mindset).

Instead, approaching these situations with the attitude of believing you can improve your abilities over time (growth mindset) will lead to perseverance to become more deeply engaged and learn more.

6. Pugs Not Drugs

Peer pressure is huge in school and succumbing to these bad habits can make you lose your memory.

Having a surprise stress-relieving drink on a Monday night is fine, but not if you're still planning on acing that Tuesday exam.

7. Slow And Steady Wins The Race

Naturally we are fast thinkers since it is easy and effortless, but sadly this causes us to make mistakes and overlook information.

Instead of cramming or waiting until the last minute, try to make time so you can think slower for more accurate and thorough results.

8. Use It Or Lose It

Does studying from dusk to dawn help when it comes to retaining subject material to pass a test? Yes.

However, if all you do is study and not take time for yourself to have a balanced lifestyle filled with social interactions and new routines, then that part of your brain not being used will eventually become weak and die off.

9. Stop Putting The “Pro” In Procrastinate

Prioritize your to-do list with the A B C D E method by labeling your most demanding task as “A” (homework) and least important task as “E” (Netflix).

When your energy level is high, work on the “A” task so that when you get tired as the day goes on, you will be more likely to do the less demanding tasks.

10. Cross Off Your To-Do List

Creating a to-do list can help better your life but if you don't cross off the completed tasks and disregard about them, it can cause more stress in your life.

If your brain isn't told that a task is now complete, it will constantly think about these "unfinished" tasks.

11. Unmask The Truth Of Multitasks

A study shows that multitasking can lower your IQ and overall efficiency. If you multitask during cognitive duties, you can experience an IQ level of a child or someone who is sleep deprived.

Eating and walking simultaneously is easy to do because they are natural tasks. However, when it comes to more complicated tasks such as texting and driving, the brain can't focus on both, thus leading to accidents.

12. One Step At A Time

Your brain get overwhelmed when you try to multitask. Having to stop one task to start another and then stop again to continue the first task spends more time since you have to switch your attention and refocus.

Setting time limits for each task and completing them one by one is proven to be more efficient by being faster while burning less energy.

13. No Phone Zone

Our brains get pleasure from seeking new information found inside our cell phones. However, this encourages multitasking which distracts us from the world around us. Set your phone on silent to prevent distractions when focusing on a single task, such as studying.

14. Healthy Self Will Heal Thyself

When you make physical improvements, your brain will take care of itself, and in turn your memory will improve.

Both sleep and exercise helps to improve memory and prevent stress by relaxing the mind. (BTW, what college student doesn’t like more sleep?!)

17. Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Highly sensitive people process information more deeply, which includes being bothered easily by lights and sounds and developing depression, anxiety, or shyness.

If you are a highly sensitive person, value your achievements and signature strengths, even when you feel like you’re the odd one out among your peers.

18. Find Yourself Before You Find Love

The attachment theory describes how childhood relationships with parents can affect how we believe love should be as adults.

Discovering your attachment style is important in preventing unhealthy relationships from following you into adulthood. This is easier said than done, but avoiding negative relationships in college is possible.

19. Think Outside The Box In Relationships

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy is key to a healthy relationship that has a strong emotional bond.

Instead of learning how to argue better or be more romantic, try to recognize and admit that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is to a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection.

20. Handle Constructive Criticism Like A Champ

In the heat of the moment, it is common to react to feedback with anger or defensiveness even though it is important to hear so that you can learn to change and mature.

Instead of attacking the person giving you criticism, learn to stop your initial reaction, remember the benefits of feedback, listen for understanding, ask questions, and although it may be hard, thank them for their evaluation, even if you don’t agree with their thoughts.

21. If You Have Nothing Nice To Say, Say Nothing At All

This includes not saying mean comments to yourself, too. Everyone is human and makes mistakes, so try to not beat yourself up over the small things.

If you would never say a hurtful comment to someone you feel compassionate towards, then it is not acceptable to say the same to yourself.

22. Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated

You've heard this a thousand times before, but it is important to respect each other's boundaries.

If you think you or someone else may be violating a person's boundaries, try to listen for verbal cues and pay attention to their body language to pick up any hints.

23. Make Your Actions Have Consequences

People can do dishonest actions but in the moment feel as though they are not doing anything wrong.

You would never steal a textbook from the bookstore because that is hard to get away with, but you most likely have tried to find your textbooks online for free before, even though both actions are considered stealing.

24. Changing Your Bad Habits Will Change Your Life

When the urge to do a bad habit surfaces, make note of where you are, who you are with, what you are doing, how you feel, and what time it is.

If a boring lecture makes you doodle in class every day to pass time, then change your routine from doodling to something new such as taking notes or actively asking questions.

25. Use Rewards And Punishments To Your Advantage

You can change your behavior through rewards and punishments, according to operant conditioning.

Whether it be rewarding yourself with a Netflix marathon if you earn a good grade on a test, or being threatened of losing your scholarship if you don’t get a good grade, both will result in you studying more.

26. Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

Even though it may not be your intention, you are most likely racist, sexist, and overall judgmental. As human beings we all have biases that affect how we think, feel, and behave.

When interacting with others, try to be aware of the way your implicit biases impact the lives of those who surround you since most colleges are full of diversity. Learn more about your biases with this quiz.

27. Learn From Your Mistakes

College is a new experience for many, and mistakes are bound to happen. Instead of being pushed two steps back, learn from your mistakes so that in the future you will be able to take one step forward. It is important to admit your mistake, take responsibility, learn from it, and then try again.

28. Money Can’t Buy Happiness

If your only drive for earning a degree is to make megabucks later in life, then reevaluate your career choice.

Money can’t serve as a motivator for high performance and satisfaction at work, but the need to direct your own life, learn and create new things, and become better can.

29. Don’t Be A Fun Sponge

This last tip may seem impossible now since the previous tips are sure to keep you busy, but it is also crucial to have some fun once in a while. People who have fun are 20 times more likely to feel happiness, so embrace the fun moments around you.

Create a happy atmosphere by joking around, playing games with friends, and taking away all the negativity that surrounds you.

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