Getting Ready for the Big Move to College

Moving to CollegeIt’s time to move to college! Whether you’re only moving ten miles away from home or three thousand miles away, you will feel the change nonetheless. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the excitement of going to college and therefore overlook some crucial aspects that should be taken care of beforehand.

There is a long list of things the school will ask you to complete before coming to campus (i.e. registering for classes, getting a room, signing up for orientation, choosing a meal plan). While all those things are important, there are several other tasks that you should accomplish before making the big move to college.

Since I haven’t yet moved to college myself, I have collected some tips from close friends who’ve experienced the move themselves.

1. Find a great roommate. Remember, the first priority in finding a roommate is to find someone compatible for a living arrangement, the second priority is to find a friend. A very close acquaintance of mine lost one of her closest friends as well as a roommate due to an argument about food in the room. So instead of browsing your class page hoping to find your best friend who will eventually become your roommate, try to find a perfect roommate who could possibly become your next best friend. You will get every opportunity to get to know people in college, and rooming with them is only one way to do so.

2. Get insider tips. Get in touch with a student already attending the university. I found this tip exceptionally helpful. While getting questions answered at orientation is great, the real answers come from the random students you will come across. I managed to get in touch with two current freshman girls, through facebook, who answered so many of my questions and gave me some amazing advice. They told me which elective classes I should take, who to talk to if I wanted to switch majors, the best dining halls to eat in, and which professors to avoid.

3. Don’t shop too early. Avoid buying things for your dorm room before you get to campus. A lot of students get really excited about having the ability to decorate a new bedroom and like to get a head-start; don’t do it! I know it’s tempting to pick a color scheme and purchase half of Target as soon as you’ve picked a theme, but the trouble it’ll take to get everything to your college is not worth the hassle. Wait until you’ve seen your dorm, know what you’re missing (such as a microwave or a mini-fridge), and then plan out your decor. Also, unless you’ve pre-coordinated with your roommate, you might wind up with half an orange room and half a teal room. There will most likely be a big store to get all you need for your room near your university, so don’t panic and purchase anything unnecessary prematurely.

4. Plan your visits home early. This last tip is mostly for students living more than a car-ride away from home. It’s often cheaper to buy plane tickets a couple of months in advance, so if you know you’re going to be home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, buy the plane tickets in the summer. A dollar saved is a dollar earned and there is no need to rush and get an overpriced last minute ticket during the holiday season, when those tickets are much more reasonably priced now.

Moving to college is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do. Whatever happens, don’t forget to enjoy the experience!

This is a guest post by Noa Livneh, a high school graduate in the San Francisco Bay Area.

College Life

Traveling on a Budget

College Travel Studying abroad has nearly become an expectation on college campuses. Each college seems to have multiple out-of-the-country academic programs and each student seems to have his or her own blog, Instagram or Twitter account specifically dedicated to an abroad experience.

It does make sense—through living and studying abroad, we get to experience and learn so much that we never would have at home. We get to try new foods, see new places and meet new people. We begin to understand cultural differences, and we become more open to changing our ideas of how things “should be.”

Despite these invaluable merits, the financial costs of studying abroad can make the experience out of reach for many already economically burdened college students.

Thankfully, studying abroad isn’t the only way to see the world. Whether you travel during or after college, here are five tips to travel for cheap and save money when traveling abroad.

1. Teach English. English is the universal language, which means that there are billions of people on this planet who need to learn it. Many organizations around the world need enthusiastic young college graduates and will help you adjust to a new culture and find housing. These organizations usually offer a stipend as well. The best part? You’ll meet lots of locals and gain a fairly intricate understanding of the community and culture.
2. Work on an organic farm. World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farms —or WWOOF —will link you to an organic farm anywhere around the world. Farms often provide shelter, food and a stipend for their workers, which could be a great way to get you across the globe for a reasonable price.
3. Look in the right places. There are several travel agencies, such as STA Travel and Student Universe, that tailor their services specifically to students. This means lower rates, package deals and plenty of guidebooks. Plus, these trips can serve as a starting point to meet other travelers your age.
4. Don’t forget your student ID. Many paid experiences offer a student discount—from museums, to movie theaters, to guided tours. Make sure to pack yours, otherwise you’ll find yourself spending extra almost everywhere.
5. Couchsurf. Accommodations can make up a very large percentage of your budget. You can drastically reduce it by staying with brand new friends anywhere in the world with Couchsurfing, a site that will connect you with a local family who will host you for free.

Whatever you do and wherever you go, be smart, aware of your surroundings and make sure that someone knows where you are.

Seeing the world is always an option—even on a limited budget. You may not get the quintessential study abroad experience, but you’ll have something that’s arguably even better, completely immersing yourself in your new location.

High School

High School Grads: Here are a Couple of Tips for Your Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation Tips Many of us struggle to find the balance between work and play. I know that when I’m on vacation, it’s hard for me to focus on doing anything I’m not interested it in at that very second. Especially, during the summer between high school and college, students are left with almost no responsibilities and three months to ponder.

As a recent high school graduate, I thought I’d set some goals to accomplish during my vacation. I know it may seem silly to plan ‘serious’ things during a vacation, but I think that a little bit of planning can go a long way. My goals are two, they can be achieved anywhere, and they are a perfect way to maintain some of the structure students are used to have every day:

1. Read one book a week
As someone who struggles to just sit down and crack a book open, I have found that by setting myself this goal ahead of time, I can actually make myself enjoy reading. Studies have shown that students lose a tremendous amount of what they learned from the previous year during the summer because they don’t work their brain.

Reading will not only help ‘upkeep’ but it will also open up your world to the infinite others lying hidden in books. Before I begin each book, I see how many pages there are and divide that by the number of days I want to finish it in. Thanks to this goal, I’ve started to notice huge changes in my reading habits, and my diction has grown greatly.

2. Exercise 30 minutes a day
As a disclaimer, I think this mainly applies to extended vacations. It’s so easy to forget about the health of your body when you’re lying on the beach in the Caribbean or enjoying rich fare in France. Exercising every day allows me to stay healthy even during a very delicious trip.

I have two exercises that don’t require any equipment. The first one is just to jog for thirty minutes, for me that is about 1.5-2 miles. You might think that jogging would take away time from a trip, but it’s actually an awesome way to get to know your destination. The second exercise that I do is 10 push-ups, 30 sit-ups, and 15 squats. I will repeat this rotation for 30 minutes, usually with an episode of “Friends” or “That 70’s Show” to keep me entertained.

What I recommend, and keep in mind that while I have experience in this exercise, I’m not a trained professional, is to raise each exercise by five every time you feel it’s becoming a bit easy. Exercising every day during vacation has actually made me more energized and ready to explore my location, while at the same time making sure that my body is healthy and in shape.

These two goals are a perfect way to enjoy summer while making sure that you keep some structure and don’t lose what you’ve gained through the school year. Enjoy your summer!

This is a guest post by Noa Livneh, a high school graduate in the San Francisco Bay Area.