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8 Tips For Higher Education From A Recent College Graduate

Put down the Pinterest dorm checklist, turn off "Animal House," and let a recent midwest grad share some tidbits of college knowledge. Originally created for her sibling who doesn't even like buzzfeed. (Don't worry, he'll learn.)

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1. Download f.lux for your laptop

You’ll appreciate it when you're staring at your computer at 2 am and blackboard just won’t work to upload the paper due for your 8 am. Less eyestrain also means less headaches so put the advil down and just download this HERE.

2. Keep an extension cord with you

You never know how long those ‘quick’ group meetings will go and when they happen in a busy library there is no guarantee you’ll be anywhere near an outlet. Get one with several plugs so you can share some juice and get credit with classmates. I will admit that I usually borrowed one from my school's TV studio as needed.

3. Pack a snack, but a good one

Nothing against using the broken vending machine to get a free snickers bar with your m&ms but keeping a granola bar and your water bottle on hand can stave off the freshman 15. Brains need energy to learn and snacks like This, This and This are great to keep on hand.

4. Quality over quantity

Back away from the free scratchy T shirts and pizza. Instead use your student ID to get deals and savings on shirts you can wear off campus. (Sorry RHA/Student Alumni Assoc.) Your ID can get you plenty of deals.

5. Find a way that works for you to track your schedule

I’m not going to hate on anyone who rocks a Lily Pulitzer planner or keeps a color coded Google Calendar, but I will call out the kid who missed the review session or video shoot because they simply “forgot.” Start building your own credibility by being reliable and on time to events, meetings, and coffee dates. For me, it meant using my phone timer to not become totally consumed in my work and miss something!

6. Email is not a big deal

I had my college roommate Jasmine read over so many emails the first month of college because it’s such a strange thing when you’re used to texting questions to friends or asking mom and dad. Give it a greeting, a concise and clear statement or question as needed and end it with thanks and a signature. Nobody needs an essay just to know you’re going to be out sick and are off to the health center. You can also use your email to stay informed with subscription emails like TheSkimm and LinkedIn Pulse.

7. Get a hard drive

College is wild, and by that I mean your laptop will try to give out during midterms/finals at least once and you may or may not freak out because college is essentially inaccessible without it. Back up your computer on a weekly basis, save copies of important files on that drive, and store work for portfolios or websites. Plus if your computer does die then you can use the in library computers to access your saved copies and still get everything done! Personally, I’ve used This and professionally one similar to This one.

8. Be welcoming to self reflection and actualization

I promise it really is okay to not know everything you want to do or accomplish! Who is impacted if you went to school to be a music major and you decide to study journalism instead? You! Who will judge when you join an intramural dodgeball team to meet new people? No one worth your worry!

The point of this tip is that if you're really not feeling yourself or if you want to try something new then you should take action and seek your truths. Join the Leadership program to empower yourself, learn how to salsa dance at an on campus cultural event, take a mental health day if you're stressing beyond capacity, and don't be afraid to try the new ramen house down the street when the only ramen you've had is instant. If you explore yourself and be genuine in your extracurricular and educational path then when you graduate you'll have no regrets.

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