Getting Through the Last Weeks of School

Northwest Pearls: Beating Senioritis My best friend asked me to do a post on getting through the last few weeks of school. She has senioritis. Bad. And her solution so far has been to drink "8+ cups of coffee a day" and to watch "Disney movies while doing homework to distract from the pain."

While totally admirable there may be other, better, ways to get through the last weeks of school. (And if you're going to graduate school, your grades matter so you can't check out.)

  • Start studying before finals week. That way you don't have to cram everything in.
  • Don't drink too much. It'll affect you the next day and probably won't be worth it.
  • Find something to relieve stress such as exercising, a massage, hanging out with friends, etc. Anytime I get stressed I know that a workout on the elliptical or a good run will help me out.
  • Have fun. It's your last bit of school and chances are you won't see these people very often from now on. Treasure your friendships.
  • Reward your studying with treats such as sweets or an episode of a show. At the end of every quarter, my bff gets a celebratory cupcake. It's something to look forward to and a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Find the best place for you to study. You may like solitude and silence or you may like the lounge. But find a good place that you can concentrate.
  • Study in groups if that works for you. It can be fun and can help a lot.
  • Take care of yourself mentally and physically.
  • Keep your notes organized. Title, date, and add page numbers to them.

Now, to be honest, I figured out that I had a high enough GPA and knew enough of the material that I could somewhat check out for the last bit of school and still graduate with honors. I'm a good test taker and I have a pretty good memory in regards to schoolwork (I had also re-read certain textbooks throughout the semester so I would retain the knowledge) so I spent about 2.5 hours studying during finals week (I probably should have spent at least 10-15 hours studying.) But I decided that spending time with friends was more important to me than finals. My decision worked well for me. I still graduated with honors and I spent time with friends. Although, I did get lucky, the stuff I studied ended up being on the test while the stuff I didn't study wasn't. (How often does that happen?!)

And while I wouldn't recommend what I did for everyone, it did work out for me and if you know you can do it too without any consequences, it might be worth it.

Sadly there's no cure to senioritis, you just have to keep yourself motivated and in the best spirits to keep on going. You're almost there!

Have you found any helpful ways to battle senioritis?

Studying for Finals

Studying for Finals; books, drink, and food.


Finals week is almost upon the students. So what do I think are some of the best ways to study for finals?

  • Re-read the books and materials. Or at least scan them. I'm not kidding. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of what was in the books. I re-read so many textbooks for finals. It was tough, but worth it. I also made sure to read them well the first time so the second time wasn't so stressful.
  • Go over your notes. Your teacher mentioned these things in class so they're most likely important.
  • Make a study-guide or memorize the content of the one your teacher made.
  • Write things you need to know out by hand. In my opinion, writing by hand is better than typing it out.
  • Memorize. Memorize like crazy. Make up jingles or rhymes or acronyms for things. Acronyms helped me the most, although I can still remember part of a jingle I made up from an art test in high school.
  • Get together with classmates to study. Quiz each other. Go over notes. Make sure you all know everything on the study guide your teacher gave you (if you're lucky enough to have a study guide.)
  • Eat healthy.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Don't forget to laugh.
  • Get enough sleep.

Do you know of any other study tips to add?

How Much to Bring to College

I've got more clothes than I need, so when I was packing for college, and for a limited space, I was freaking out over how much was too much. Then, a friend told me that I was moving there, and I would need whatever I had needed at home, while taking into account the different climate.

With that philosophy in mind, I brought lots of clothes, more than I needed, but they all fit in the room. I had decided before hand that whatever fit in my room, I would keep, and whatever just couldn't fit, I would send home with my parents. But it all fit, as far as I remember.

And since I went to college just 300 miles away from home, I came home every 6 weeks or so, and I would use that time to switch out parts of my wardrobe. I'd trade in my sandals for boots, my shorts for pants etc. But for those who go away further or don't go home as often, you should probably make sure that you've got all the clothes to last until you do go home. Or at least plan on buying what you need as the weather gets colder. I never needed a heavy duty winter jacket until I went away to college. So in October, which was early, but my mom was in town, she and I went to a NorthFace store and found a jacket for me. The people who worked there lived in that climate, and were able to give suggestions on what kind of coat I would want.

So if you're having trouble deciding on what to pack, remember, you will be living there for the next few years. And bring enough variation that you can dress up for an interview, or dress up for a dance.

Does anyone else have any suggestions on how much to bring to college?


Keeping up on Homework in College

In high school I kept all of my homework and due dates in a leather planner. It worked well. But in college I moved everything to Google Calendar. Each week I would take the homework due in all of my classes for the next week and put it into the task list. So, for example, for Interactive Journalism, when I had a blog post due, I would write IJ Blog Post 1. I went through the syllabus and kept a few major assignments towards the bottom of the list so they were always somewhere in my mind.

That was how I stayed on top of my homework in college. I also took to writing down what I wanted to accomplish each day, and each day of the weekend. When I was really on top of it though, I would work over the weekend to work on the whole next week's homework. Sometimes I finished, sometimes I didn't. But it was a great feeling to have all the homework done for the whole week.

Sometimes, when I couldn't do it all over the weekend, I did the day it was "assigned." So after Monday's Interactive Journalism class, I would do the homework due for Wednesday's class.

And at the very least, I would do the homework the night before. I don't think that I ever the did the homework the morning of except for once or twice. It's not worth it.

What I originally tried to do was to start homework on Friday afternoons so I could have Sunday's off. But what my friends would do was save their homework for Sundays. And it's not much fun to do homework while your friends are hanging out, or, alternatively, to have free time while your friends are frantically studying. So I fit my schedule to theirs and saved my homework for Saturday mornings and Sundays.

With all of this, I was able to stay on top of my homework,

Hope some of this helps you out with your homework!


While In College

The last semester of my last year of college, even a little before that, I was aware that I didn't want to graduate college. I was only there for two years, and I completed my entire bachelor's degree in three years. But I was about two years younger than most of the graduating seniors and most of my friends were sophomores or juniors in school. So I wasn't happy about graduating. I made the best of it and tried not to be sad, but I do wish that I had spent all three years at this school, or that I had done one more year of college at that school. But I didn't, and I saved myself and my family a bit of money. Here's some advice I have for you as you're in college:

Don't try to please everyone because you can't and you shouldn't bother. This is something that I have to work at, but it's something that everyone should keep in mind. God loves you for you and that is enough and you have to realize that that is enough. His love is so much greater than anyone elses'.

Find a group of people you enjoy being with. I had friends that I loved being around. I was me around them. Just be yourself and find a group of friends.

Do something extracurricular. I attended a few clubs off and on, and when it came to applying for scholarships, I wished that I had been in more clubs. But at the same time, I chose to spend my free time with friends and people. I love to be around people. I could have done that in a club, but I just didn't. I did do intramurals spring of my senior year, I did soccer and ultimate frisbee. I wished that I had done intramurals every semester of college because I had such a blast playing with my friends. I don't think we ever won a game, but hey, we had fun. And that's what matters.

Have fun. Don't make yourself do something that you hate or something that isn't you. That goes back to being you. And please, don't do anything stupid. But have fun. I went out to far too much fro-yo and coffee/tea just so I could hang out with people. I chose to spend money I had, but probably should have spent wiser, to go out. And while I could have gone out and not gotten anything, I decided to spoil myself, because college only happens once. Just please, don't do anything stupid.

Realize that this is a unique time in your life that won't ever be replicated. You are going to be surrounded by people your own age who are in the same stage of life as you. So enjoy it. Don't wish it away. I was talking to another senior about how once graduation comes around, you wish for another year (or two). But when it's not coming for you, you can't wait for summer to come. You're so ready to be done with school. Personally, I was dreading summer for months. My friends were all excited for it, and I was happy that they were happy, but I didn't want it to come around because it meant the start of adulthood. I enjoyed my last few months though and am incredibly grateful for the chance to go to my school.

Do you have any more suggestions for undergraduate college students?

Broke But Without Responsibilities

There is a bright side to not having a job. You have less responsibilities. Currently I don't have a job or rent. My only expenses are personal things, gas, insurance, my car loan, and my student loans. I can pick up whenever and go do whatever. Granted, I'm limited by money, but what I've been telling myself, to an extent, has been: "You're 20, have no job, and everyone else is broke too. What difference does it matter if you're almost broke or completely broke?"

I told this to someone at the airport, we never exchanged names, and he said:

“You’re going to be broke for most of your life.”

-Computer Scientist I met at the airport

While that's disappointing to hear, the important thing is that for most of your life, you will have responsibilities, you may already have them. But if you're lucky, or unlucky, enough to not have them, you can just pick up and travel. You don't have to worry about taking time off or finding a pet sitter. So that's pretty great.

I've gotten to travel this summer and while I am still looking for jobs for the fall, I'm able to take time and plan road trips and do fun things that I know won't be as easy to pull off once I've started my career. Friends mention future trips to me for their breaks, and by then I'm planning on having a full-time job. I may not be able to do those sorts of things.

So there is a benefit to not having responsibilities. Think of it as a mini-vacation.

Disclaimer: Before you get mad, I realize that there is also a pretty big benefit to having a job and responsibilities. I'm just looking for the silver lining. You may not want to, or be able to, have the same motto. Heaven knows that I would like a job and I'm not shirking away from responsibilities, I'm just taking some time off (Cut me some slack, I graduated college at 20.) So if you don't have those responsibilities, try to take advantage of a little gap after college where it's acceptable to take time off (if you can.) Most people are aware that you won't be able to do that very soon. And if you don't want to or can't, then I hope your find a job or whatever will be the best for you.

Communication and Roommates

A bit of backstory: I'm talkative and outgoing and process verbally. One of my roommates was introverted and processed internally.

I would come back and chat with her about the day, what was going on etc. I started to feel like she didn't want to hear about it, so I quit talking to her about things like that. I tried to make the room a quiet place where she didn't have to be annoyed by my talking.

She took my silence as a sign of dislike for her. She thought I regretted taking her as my roommate and in turn, tried to not talk to me because she didn't think I wanted her to.

She thought I was being passive aggressive, and I thought she didn't want to talk to me. Simultaneously we made our communication problem bigger until one day, and I don't remember how, we figured out that I didn't hate her, and she didn't hate me.

As a communication major, it was interesting to see how our perceptions of our interactions were so different from our intentions. We were both trying to please the other person but it came off as being mean to the other person.

I could have talked to my roommate about our problems long before I did but I am pretty non-confrontational. I also could have reached out to our R.A. for advice on the situation.

Thankfully we figured out that neither of us hated the other. Do you have any advice for dealing with roommates?

Buying for College

There are a lot of things that you don't need to bring to college, and you don't NEED everything on this list, but there are some things that you might overlook as you shop for college. I've added some of them to the list.

A piece of fabric to cover the nasty fluorescent light that's probably in the middle of your room. Maybe wait to buy this until you see the room.

Some sort of lighting to use when you don't want to use that horrific fluorescent light in your room.

Shower shoes. Don't shower barefoot. Unless you're comfortable with that. But I couldn't stand to do that.

Two sets of towels. I had my shower towel fall on the bathroom floor a few times. I would then put it in the dirty clothes and use my second towel.

Some entertainment reading. Not a ton, and it depends on who you are, but it's nice to have once in a while when you've got some down time.

Different levels of clothing. By this I mean, have your workout clothes for your intramural games, but also have some nice clothes for interviews or something of the sort.

Ethernet cord. The wi-fi at college can suck. I had an Ethernet cord and it seemed to me that I had better internet than most.

Some extra supplies (especially if you don't have a car, then you can go longer between store runs). If you don't have the space for it, then you can make do. I did enjoy having the extra stuff though.

Thank you notes and/or blank cards. I went through a ton of thank you notes. Not everyone writes them, but I try. I also used blank cards to write my friends little notes.

Stationary. It's fun to mail snail mail on pretty stationary. This isn't something that you NEED, and it probably shouldn't be on this list, but it doesn't take up much space, and I liked having it.

A fan. Of course it depends on where you go, but I don't know how I would have survived without my fan. It was only useful in September and May, but it was run 24/7 in those few weeks.

Painters' tape. It's usually blue. Of course, it depends on your college, but you're probably allowed to use this tape. I also had duct tape that I used every so often for random things like making the outlet strip stay attached to the fridge and out of the way.

Outlet expanders. I had so many. There were five outlets in our room, and we had expanders on four of them. I had a phone charger, a kindle charger, a lamp, an alarm clock, an electric toothbrush, a Clarisonic, a fan, a microwave, a fridge, and a computer (I think that's it.) So I had to have lots of outlets. Also, there's the roommate to consider, because he or she probably has around the same amount of things.

An iron can be useful too. It's not necessary, but I found it useful to iron a few dress shirts, and to iron my graduation gown. It wasn't too hard to store, and you don't need an ironing board, you can just use a towel to iron on. However, I have seen some college laundry rooms with irons and ironing boards.

A drying rack. I used mine every single wash load. I needed two usually so I borrowed a friend's or a neighbor's. Most of my clothes can't be dried in the drier though, and I had friends who got along without one. But about 90% of my clothes have to be air dried so it's necessary for me.


Another post about buying for your college dorm here.


There may be other things that are necessary for college that I'm forgetting. I'll try to add them as I think of them. Is there anything else that you can think of that's necessary?


AP, Running Start, and Concurrent Credit Considerations

My high school allowed its students to take concurrent credit courses. What that meant was that if we paid for the college credit, we got college credits for some of our high school classes. I liked this idea, as did my parents, and I graduated high school with 33 credits of college credit. Similarly, with Running Start, and I believe that there are other state programs out there, you take college courses at your local community college for the last two years of high school. Then when you're done with high school, you've probably got an Associate's Degree under your belt.

And AP courses, with high enough scores, allow you to get a head start in college.

It sounds great to be able to save on college, and I do see the advantage of that in  an age where many students switch their major and take more than four years to graduate.

But from the other side, graduating college early isn't necessarily a good thing. I finished college in three years. One of which was at a 2-year college which I didn't try to like because I was only there to get credits before transferring. I was just trying to see what I wanted to do. And that was a cheap way to do that.

But that meant that I only spent two years at my dream school. Transferring in, you lose a decent amount of financial aid. So it's not going to be as cheap as two years for a student who started there.

It also meant that I graduated college at 20. Too young even to go to the first alumni event. (Okay, they said I could go, but it was a wine-tasting and I couldn't participate in that part of the event.)

I wish that I could have spent more time at my school. I loved it there. But I chose not to double major so I wouldn't have more debt. I chose not to study abroad for the same reason, I wanted to graduate. But as graduation loomed closer and closer, I began to freak out. I wasn't ready to graduate. Some people suggested graduate school, but that wouldn't be the same, my friends wouldn't be there. But it would put off adulthood for a little while longer. Same with Bible school and service organizations. I could go do something of that sort to make it so I was a bit older when I entered "the real world." But I chose not to.

If I could have changed my course, I'm not sure I would. Looking back I would have rather gone to the four-year school right out of high school, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to study and my mother was encouraging a medical program at a two-year school. So I think that the decisions I made made the most sense. I just want you to consider the ramifications of graduating early.

  • You have to start looking for a career in an economy that is tough.
  • You miss out on college experiences.
  • It forces you to grow up.

There are benefits to graduating early, but some of the consequences may not be worth it for everyone.


Do you have any similar experience with graduating early?