Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How to Get A's in College

It's back to school! Studying for a course in college is nothing alike compared to studying for a class in high school. Everything is all down to you now. How are You going to study? Are You going to make the effort? Are You going to go to class?

But let's backup. The first thing I need you to do is to stop believing that smarter people get better grades. That is simply not true. It all comes to a matter of priority, some thoughtful organization and an optimistic mindset.








Prioritize School

I know this might seem like a big "duh!", but the truth is that school isn't waiting for you to be done with your Facebook break or Instagram (my weakness) or Twitter etc. No one is going to be there to remind you to do your homework and you won't get "in trouble" from the school for not going to class. College runs on it's own pace (it's kinda fast if you stop moving) and if you aren't willing to make the effort to sync yourself with school, you are in for a heck of a rollercoaster ride and in the end it always shows in your grades.

In a large way grades show not so much that you are a smart person, but that you personally make the effort and prioritize your time appropriately. And this is exactly what grad school, internships and employers will want to see in the future. Take a look at making sacrifices on things like social media time and also don't let things like your part-time job or social life take over. It's not worth it. College is too dang expensive for that.


Study Smarter Not Harder

There's a bit of a misconception at times that studying harder means that you will get higher grades, but that's not always the case. If you feel like that your current studying habits are working for you, try this: review the concepts in chunks over time and practice exam style questions rather than read the book over 10 times. When you read over the same material you are memorizing and you won't be able to know if you are getting the concepts down this way. The students that get top grades usually practice the style of questions the professor will test you on right before the exam. You can do this to be better prepared for the exams too. Find practice exams online if you have to.

Another super helpful tip is to study the material again right before the exam. If you can, study in the hours leading up to the exam. With the material fresh in your mind you are best able to recall the correct information without second guessing yourself!


Become a self-teacher

Sorry to break it to you, but only showing up to class and only reading the book is not going to get you an A either. Most of my classes, as in 95% of them were based on the professor's lecture material not the book. Take this into account at the beginning of the semester to see if you even need to purchase the text. This tip is especially true for those hard classes, where the passive learning just won't cut it. Practicing and testing yourself on the material when the class doesn't offer homework is crucial. When you teach yourself something it is actually hard to forget it because you had to make the extra effort to understand a concept.

Keep Your Motivation Close

Why are you going to college? What keeps you going? College has definitely tested me, at certain points especially with tough classes like organic chemistry. Remembering my motivation when I am most stressed out really helps me to get through the rough patches and work it out. Become a self-cheerleader. Take charge! Do you have a memo board or keep photos on your wall? Add pictures or quotes of whatever it is that keeps you going to your board so that you can give yourself a daily reminder. Being in a positive frame of mind and remembering that you are in control is a great way to conquer college!

Write in your planner everyday

...or at the very least get google calendar. I fill my planner with everything.

Important things you need to write down ASAP:

  • Exam dates
  • class times
  • papers and projects due
  • office hours for each class
  • professor's emails
and basically anytime you think of something you need to do just write it down. There is so much stuff to think about in one day that you will easily forget it. When I write things down I am more likely to feel accountable for that and make the effort to do it, especially when it's something i'd rather not do... like say a lab report for instance. Going back and crossing the things off the list makes me feel so productive and thats closer to getting the grade you want.

Also side note, what is up with the $50+ planners? Anyone else think thats just off? Okay maybe just me.

Schedule Me Time

Yes, schedule it. Put it in your planner as something to look forward to and also as a chance to de-stress from the week. Whether you prefer to paint your nails, go to the mall or do yoga we all need some time to ourselves now and then to recharge in order to do our best. A person who doesn't get in any me-time can't be as productive as someone who takes time to take care of themselves. Don't ever feel guilty for getting some me time in, you deserve it after all your hard work.

Use the syllabus

In high school the syllabus was just a paper you signed, gave back to the professor and pretty much forgot about it. The syllabus in college is completely different. In it the professor tells you exactly how to ace the class. There, the secret is out!

But so many people just toss it aside and forget about it. Don't be one of those people!

The syllabus will tell you exactly when everything is due so spread out your study time accordingly before the exam day hits. This is when planner comes in handy to write in all the assignments and exams. Nothing should be a surprise.


Balance

I made the terrible mistake one semester and loaded on all lab and hard sciences classes without adding in any less intensive elective courses. I thought hey it's only 13 credits, but oh gosh did I suffer that semester!  Aim for a balance. Sprinkle in electives with the tough courses. You don't have to take on all the tough classes at once. Save your sanity!

I have found that not being able to do your best in the things most important to you can be a source of anxiety. So make an effort to achieve the balance between life/work/school/studying in order to prevent stress. If you aren't finding the balance you need to either:

a.) re-prioritize


or..

b.) cut something out of your schedule


And speaking of anxiety...


Health

If you are planning on being productive you need to start with taking care of your body. A happy healthy body can keep going. And ain't nobody got time for getting sick.


Know Your Limits

This kind of goes hand in hand with finding school/life balance. I can't be the one, in fact no one can be the one, to tell you how many credits you should take, how much you should work, etc. If you are the type of student that can only handle 9 credits or you can handle 18 credits, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks*. Only you know what you can handle so be in tune with that and learn to trust your gut on this one. Know when to say no.

*Also every major is built differently, someone can be taking a 3-credit class in one for one major and it be much easier than a 1-credit course in another.

Work Ahead

because sometimes, something comes up at the worst timing.

and the best for last...


Surround Yourself By Those Who Love You

...and those who share similar goals as you. They will be your cheerleaders as you progress through your college career!


Office Hours

A quick note on office hours: You don't have to visit your professor to get an A in the class. However, I find that it helps to visit the professor especially in small clasees because it clearly shows you are making an honest effort to get a good grade and a professor has the ability to adjust your grade considering you efforts. A professor last semester blatantly told me this tip, but I already knew it worked😉 . This also to applies to other classes where professors evaluate quality of a project such as English class, it can help put a face to the name.



Overall prioritizing and believing you can do it is a must, after that everything else tends to falls into place much easier. I promise that college is not as difficult as some may make it out to be. If you want it, then it's all yours. Good luck to you this semester!

I'm looking for new studying tips to use this semester, which ones work best for you? Let me know in the comments below!


    xo


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Friday, January 6, 2017

10 Ways to Prep for the New Semester


Before the start of each semester I like to prep by organizing my things and space so that as soon as the first day comes around I have a lot less things to worry about. It saves me a lot of time and a headache later on in the semester. Below I am sharing the little rituals I do before the start of each semester.




Clear Computer Space

You don't want your laptop running slow just because it got too full. It's that boring thing you got to do that you'll be glad you took care of now.

Organize your Desk

Start by placing only things on your desk that will help you study. Take away anything that will distract you.


Make Folders for Each Class

I generally like to keep a physical folder for each class I am taking to collect all the handouts from my classes accessible and most importantly keep the syllabus handy.

It also helps to make folders on your laptop as well to collect all your work throughout the semester. Besides who knows, that research you did for one essay might help you out on another project in the future.


Get Something New

Who doesn't enjoy something new!  Why not grab something fun for class that you've been eyeing.  Some ideas: post-it dispenser, novelty flash drive, Starbucks credit, or a memo board.

Prep your Bag

Keep it simple and pack the essentials that you'll need for class. You don't want to carry more weight than you need to. Also don't forget to put back up cash in your bag in case of an emergency. 20 dollars should do!

Get an Agenda

Write in your class info inside the front cover like: class times and locations. Next take a look at your school's academic calendar to know your days off and deadlines for important things like when tuition is due. 

Plan Your Typical Week Schedule

For the first week plan what typical activities will occur. Start by blocking out the time for things that are recurring like class, work and volunteering. Then sprinkle in the fun events and plans throughout the week so that you have something to look forward to everyday. The rest of the empty spaces can then be filled in with what ever else you would like to see get done in a week: the study time, free time, workouts, that new year resolution etc.

Prep Closet

If you are someone who takes a while to get ready in the morning consider putting your essentials and favorite go to pieces in the front. It takes me significantly less time to get ready for class and I know I won't have to fuss about my clothing choices later.


Have a Set Space for School Things Only

I have a specific drawer just for school things. This is mostly for the purposes of not loosing important class things. I make this an effortless habit so that I don't get caught in lab without goggles later!

Vehicle

Also for my commuter readers, don't forget an oil change and carwash! So important!


I'd love to hear your before the semester rituals in the comments below!

xo!







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Friday, December 30, 2016

Mental Health in College + 2017 Goals



Hasn't 2016 been an odd year? I have to jump on the bandwagon here and agree. I had a bigger introspective year than I would have imagined and I realized how important mental health truly is. Not realizing it, I seriously became tired of overworking myself and I also had a bit of a taste of dare I say: depression.




Quick recap of last semester

Overworking myself  + little self care = disaster!

This semester I was really so determined to balance new financial goals and a small but intense course load that I never stepped back to really ask myself if I should do it. Could I do it? probably. Should I have done it? not really.

little bit of back story: I'm about to start my 8th semester in college and I've always worked and been a full time student all throughout college while also making sure to be involved in some way wether it be an organization or volunteering.

This year I really felt a turn in my mental health. Specifically this semester I felt my body [finally] give up trying to balance so many things at once. How did I know? Somehow during the semester these feelings of being unusually nervous started to creep in. My mind would go completely restless and sometimes I would be doing nothing at all and my heart would feel like it was racing. At first there was only some days that I would feel nervous, but then it was more. Days when I would wake up with it inexplicably and other days where it would come and go and the frustrating part of that was not being able to pinpoint exactly what would make me feel that way. As a result I became sad and it scared me even more to think that I couldn't control it. And so the cycle continued.

It's much easier to look back now and think: why did I let myself do that? But when you are so busy on other matters it is too easy to justify the way you are feeling with excuses or on days that it is worse, simply hope it will go away on its own.

I absolutely know now that if i kept going this way i was going to continue sliding into a downward spiral of unhapiness... depression..  I needed a break.


New things and changes

This semester I made the decision to quit my part-time and to focus on school completely. I also decided not to join any volunteering positions as well. It was a hard decision to make for me as I am so used to working and or being involved since my start of college and being busy kept me distracted enough to not have to face my feelings of anxiety during the semester. In this way school ended up being a source of anxiety as well as a comfort zone.

I still feel anxious or nervous at times, but what really helped me the most was talking to those closest to me about it. which has actually been one of, if not, the most difficult difficult thing I have done. Talking to someone is the advice that I most hear and it's said so often for a reason. I didn't have to feel lonely anymore.


Looking Up

I'm looking forward to sharing more college advice here as well as what has helped me manage stress during college. I've learned a lot from my experience in college and I want to continue sharing that on here!

I heard from somewhere that one of the best ways to be productive is to plan your fun things first and then plan the (boring) day to day tasks. Sounds a little counter intuitive but the idea is that these plans (big or small) are motivators to accomplishing those not so fun things like studying and the such. So here I have decided to share my goals for the new year, in spirit of the new year and to lovely things.



2017 Goals


Graduate in December! 🎉
Save up for a graduation trip
Workout weekly
boost my GPA
Git rid of lots of things
Explore new ways to help with anxiety
Try new restaurants
Go on a daytrip(s)
Make sleep a priority
Procrastinate less
Make time to "do nothing"
Sew a dress
Wear the dress I will make
Stay optimistic
Enjoy blogging
Take more pictures
pray





Friday, December 16, 2016

About Me



 


Hi! I'm Daniella, Dani for short!

I am a college girl, living in Phoenix who's majoring in Biology who also happens to be in love with all things vintage, trying new things and a good DIY project! I started this blog as a way to share my college experience and just this past semester I moved to Phoenix so I've been having fun discovering new places downtown so you'll also get to hear about those. Anything you find here is something I would share with a close friend. Here you'll find things like:

  • College advice
  • other life tid bits
  • life in Phoenix
  • fashion
  • Personal challenges
  • inspirations 
  • and other things I love


A photo posted by Daniella | Dani & a Daisy (@daniandadaisy) on

WHO AM I?
I am currently in my senior year of college, and as you can probably tell, my life pretty much revolves around it. When i'm not in class, I like to practice sewing. It's my dream to be able to sew an elaborate gown. I also love to shop, but I have learned how not to spend my entire paycheck at the mall (more on that later)!


WHY DID YOU NAME YOUR BLOG DANI & A DAISY?
If you haven't already found out, I am in love with all things floral. My favorite is a daisy, it always looks so poppy and never fails to put me in a good mood.


FAVORITE PLACE I HAVE VISITED? NEXT PLACE I WANT TO TRAVEL TO?
Probably, Italy! There is so much to do there. I am up for traveling anywhere, but my dream location to visit is Great Britain.

COLLEGE GOALS? POST-COLLEGE GOALS?
The million dollar question! This used to be scary to say, but I am actually not sure yet! While I find spending time looking under a microscope fascinating, I contemplate a career in business as well. My immediate post-college goal is to travel extensively.


HOW TO KEEP IN TOUCH:

email: d a n i a n d a d a i s y @ g m a i l . c o m
instagram: @daniandadaisy
pinterest: www.pinterest.com/daniandadaisy/
bloglovin: www.bloglovin.com/blogs/dani-a-daisy-18206553


Friday, October 28, 2016

Pinterest Roundup: 5 Easy DIY Fall Room Decor Ideas

I adore the cozy feeling of fall! This weekend I put together some cute and totally doable fall decoration to get you inspired.

This post has got me going all elementary school nostalgic, but you know what I don't mind a creative break from my hectic work/school schedule to really slow down and unwind a bit.

Grab your PSL and some paint!


1. Paper Tassels

the best part about it is that it doesn't require many supplies and its too easy to repurpose that extra scrapbook paper.





2. Chalkboard Message

If you don't have a chalkboard, line a photo frame with chalk board wrap or use white pastel on black card stock paper for the same effect.



3. Glass Jars

I have too many glass jars and I bet you do too! You can use just about anything; flower vases, mason jar, candle holder, lantern, etc.




4. Picture Frames

Repurpose old picture frames or even a simple clipboard easily.

5. Glam Pumpkins

Skip the carving this year and unleash inner picasso.




Click this button to follow me on Pinterest for some more inspiration!
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Letting go of Stress in College


Who else feels like there seems to be less free time as the semester progresses?


I'm at that point in the semester where the stress is adding up. Midterms are right around the corner and i'm here trying to find that balance between work and trying to put in a little bit of study time for each class everyday. It's starting to add up! In addition, I recently got back previous exam scores and it was definitely not what I was shooting for, but I'm trying my best not to get discouraged!

I think it's too easy to disregard taking some time for ourselves in order to recharge and keep going. I always love to try out new ways to relax and keep the stressful days to a minimum and these are some of my top favorites (besides Netflix and sleep) to beat out the stress during the semester.


Listen to Some Tunes

Music is my no-fail way for me to get focused on what I need to get done in a day. If I need to get energized for my next lecture I'll turn on my favorite Pandora station before class and even if I am feeling lazy this will wake me up every time. If I need to focus on studying i'll put on some relaxing music for background noise. I recommend the Pandora station: Classical for Studying, it's the best.


Exercise

There's an endless amount of health benefits for working out, but my favorite part is that it relieves stress like no other! Any nervous energy or stress that you've been holding on to can be released to help you sleep better at night and help you do better on your next exam. Even taking a walk down the street can have the same effects.

I used to never really workout during the semester, thinking that the time I spent working out was time I was cutting out of studying, but it is truly important to be able to energize your mind and body. This semester I have really been pushing myself to incorporate 30-minute weekly workouts and it's definitely not as difficult as I thought it was going to be! My favorite way to workout is putting on my favorite music and mixing dancing in with aerobics. I don like to worry about keeping track of how many reps of what I did, I just make sure I sweat! Baby steps right?

Chocolate

A really nice bar of chocolate is always on my wish list because nothing beats a bite of a really rich chocolate. I like to treat myself here and there with just a single piece. The thing is that if it's a quality chocolate you really only need a single piece to give you that happiness! How about some pink champagne truffles anyone?


Writing

I feel this may be specific to me, or who knows, but I love being able to write out to my heart's content in a journal. Wether I feel like writing what I appreciated most about the day or i'm feeling inspired for a poem, I like feeling that bit of stress-relieving freedom.

DIY Spa

I find i'm on my feet for a large part of the day, especially with work and using foot soaks at the end of a day has been a total game changer. Some warm water + anise and lavender essential oils + epsom salt is all you need. I love doing face masks and bubble baths as well, just add candles and you got yourself a spa experience at home.


Tea

Taking a tea break has lots of lovely benefits. It gives you a chance to get a mental break, to hydrate and depending on your tea of choice can help boost your immune system and metabolism. Drink your tea with honey instead of sugar for more complete benefits.  

FaceTime 

Spending some time on the phone with someone I care about always put me in a good mood. I mentioned that I recently received exam scores that were not where I expected them to be, but if it wasn't for talking to my best friend, I would've easily forgotten to give myself credit for how far i've come. Support from someone that cares about you is invaluable and a little more of it certainly helps. Besides, it's one of the easiest ways to destress.

What are your favorite ways for de-stressing?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Saint Motel + Some Pretty Bomb Tacos




My sister did the most awesome thing and scored us tickets to catch Saint Motel's sold out show at the Crescent Ballroom, right in downtown Phoenix.

They had guest bands Weathers and Jr Jr. playing some of their new music beforehand.

I am not so much a fan of Weathers so I somehow forget to get some pictures in. Oh well!  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Jr Jr had TONS of energy.  This guy, Josh (lead singer) was throwing high leg kicks everywhere like a ninja, how does he get that kind of cardio in??
They all also happened to be dressed like divas in glittery wraps because according to them, "why not."



Be happy, Be glittery, Like this guy.

And then.... came my favorites.

We were all waiting for them to come on stage after the last pre-band finished. They queued the suspenseful music. And at once they made the music come alive.


I was impressed with how great they sounded live.
And also felt lucky I got to be so close to the stage!

talk about perfect timing.
I won't lie though, I absolutely admire their retro vibes, because i'm a sucker for all that jazz.


Benny Goodman was probably one of my favorite tracks that they performed. Right next to Cold Man.

And then he looked right at me.... *sigh



Saint Motel, you were magical.





Oh yeah! and about the tacos, sorry they didn't make it for the pictures!🙈
I was hungry and they were pretty dang good. And thats coming from a girl who gets authentic Mexican cooking at home.

Crescent Ballroom always has free music or something fun going on, even on Mondays apart from the concerts they already offer. So next time you got that taco craving and you're in downtown phx, you know where to go!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

3 Ways to Keep You Motivated Through the Rest of 2016

If you're starting to feel that mid-semester slump put that attitude on the back burner right now and try to do one of these three things instead! While keeping motivated definitely makes tackling your classes less stressful it's okay to realize you need to take a break and keep fueling your motivation too. We all can't be perfect bundles of energy and happiness, ok?








1. Friends/Family/Mentors

Surround yourself by those who love you and want to see you succeed wether it be your family, your friends or a mentor. It is also so uplifting to be around others who are going through the same classes as you and are sharing similar experiences as you. On those days when you are not feeling as motivated as ever keep your friends and family close and remember you've got people who are cheering you on! Your family might likely remind you of why you wanted to take on the task of going to college too. I know mine does!

~ Keep favorite pictures on your desk or Facetime a friend



2. Appreciation

There is something to be said about the power of gratitude. It makes you stop and realize all the quiet things in between that we can at times (dare I say) take for granted. In a way appreciation is like planting a small seed to grow happiness. I know, super cheesy, but it couldn't be truer!

And best of all happiness is contagious!


~ Write down one thing, big or small, every day that you appreciate

If you need more inspiration I like this video from TEDx on Project 365 Days of Gratitude



3. Setting Goals

You can truly accomplish anything you set your mind on. Every semester I like to come up with new goals that I am certain I can accomplish throughout the semester because either one of two things happens. A: you accomplish your goal and feel great! or B: You don't accomplish it, but turn it into a chance to see how you can invest more time in yourself. It's absolutely not too late to put down a few goals for the semester, just make sure you write them down somewhere where you can seem them often like an agenda or pinboard.

One of my goals this semester? To schedule more time for myself

 If making goals is something that stresses you out, make baby goals, as in complete a small task that is something you can do today towards accomplishing the main goal. A baby goal can be something simple like going to bed an hour early or knocking out just 2 homework problems.



I keep my motivation going by sharing my goals with my friends.

So how do you keep the motivation going?

Monday, September 5, 2016

15 Things all Biology Majors Know to be True



1.  What people think when you tell them you are a bio major:

"So you're going to be a biology teacher?"



and the: "Oh... so med school?"






2. Understanding an abstract concept in science gives you that high that no one else understands





3. There are so many possibilities with this degree after college that it's overwhelming




4. You understand those science cat jokes



      ...and laugh at them



5. Physics?!
    you still aren't completely sure why it is a "requirement"





6.  You actually chemically understand the concept of that trendy micellar water

Dangit... why didn't I invent that?





7. During orgo lab, having fun pretending to make meth a la Breaking Bad






8. Organic chemistry has been the bane of your existence




and made you think about switching majors more than once.



9. Your friends in other majors just don't understand the miracle it is to have gotten an 'A' on that last exam



AND it wasn't even curved.



10.  Foreign Professors

Pretending to understand them at office hours like:






11. Getting upset/annoyed when someone says something that isn't biologically or anatomically correct.







12.  The truth is, this major drives you insane when you've got a demanding one credit lab, 3 exams in a week so you've been perpetually studying all week, not to mention that exciting orgo lab report due at midnight and those research volunteering hours you need to get in.

and your friends are wondering:


props to ya!



13. But also owning this crazy mess because you got this and you're pretty smart



but mostly because it's your last year and you're in this mess too deep to give up now

14. ...and also bragging rights.




15. And finally owning the fact that you are a nerd

and because smart = hot
right?




right?!


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

24 Pieces of Advice I wish I had known as a College Freshman



 This list began as a way to collect some advice for my sister who is going to enter her first semester of college this fall and it ended up turning into a long list as I started going back and thinking of how every semester has come to reshape my mindset.  Although some of these things seem silly and others simple, I genuinely wish I had someone to remind me of these things.

I didn't learn all of these things at once, and some of these I learned through tears and mistakes. So, while I wouldn't consider myself an expert on the college experience (probably never), I hope one of these tips can resonate with you and make you better prepared.


Below Is a list of advice I wish I had known in my first semester at college.






 1. DON’T buy your books from the bookstore
At all! This is easily the first lesson I learned as a college student. In my experience my labs were the only ones that required a manual that was specifically tailored to the course, but other than that there is no reason to pay full price for a text. If you really want to save money you can:

  • Compare prices online across different websites (some of my favorites are amazon, campus book rentals and alibris).
  • Find online coupons
  • Consider renting
  • Consider borrowing the text from a friend who took the class last semester
  • Check if it is available at the library
  • Purchase older editions


2. DO try out different types of classes
Most majors give you an opportunity to try out different subjects through their electives requirement so take the chance to round out your skills. I don’t regret any of my "weird" electives. They allow you to branch out and as a perk they can be great GPA boosters. Also, if you are still in between majors take an intro class in that subject and see what route you want to continue. It's okay to not be completely sure about your major. It's not okay to not do anything about it. 

Plus, if you decide to switch majors it is best to decide earlier on to save time.

3. DO get the scoop on the best professors on campus
Regrettably I was the skeptic, and didn't believe friends when they told me that a certain professor was subpar. I just thought that if you tried hard enough it didn't matter. Turns out that’s not true! Your best bet is to use ratemyprofessor.com and talk to people who have taken their class before. If both resources tell you a big "NO!" then choose another professor

4. DON'T pile on too many classes at once
You don't want to spread yourself too thin and hold yourself back from doing the best that you can. This may be especially true for new college students, but keep that in mind as you continue your college career. 

5. DON'T let who you were in high school overshadow your new college experience
You might have been an excellent student in high school or you might not have done as great as you wanted to, just don’t let this be your mindset when starting out college. You are here with a clean slate and along with everyone else, you are in the process of learning and growing. Don't mentally limit yourself.

6. DO take care of yourself and your health
Being sick can knock out a lot of your valuable time. It goes without fail that a lot of students get sick at the end of the semester when there is simultaneously a lot of stress with exams and slacking on personal health. Make your health a priority.

7. DON'T forget about safety
Now I don't meant to sound like a mum, but more than likely you are going to find yourself in a larger city at your new college hometown so keep in mind that you should take precautions for certain situations. Have a general idea of what to do in an emergency situation and don't walk out late without a friend if you can help it and always let your roomies or someone else know where you are going. Unfortunately there are lots of cases of domestic violence, not to mention the ones that go unreported. 

Also, don't forget to carry some extra cash with you, just in case you need to take a bus/taxi or forget your lunch.  


8. DON'T prioritize anything else over school
This includes your job and or boy/girlfriend. I know there will be a ton going on, but it is all in your best interests to stay focused on what is important. It costs too much time and money to not take your classes seriously the first time around. Make plans around your class schedule, not on top of it. 

9. DO set goals
Set some specific goals at the beginning of the semester on how you want to conquer it. For example this semester mine look a little like this:

  • continue getting up by 8:00 am every (week) day 
  • obtain Bs minimum but mostly As
  • study (almost) everyday for organic chemistry 
  • pass organic chemistry
  • be consistently on time to class
  • boost my GPA

Just thinking about them helps keep me focused and if I don't obtain them it's just a chance for me to see what worked and didn't work for me during the semester. 
It is just so much easier to adjust a goal than to start from scratch. and to avoid that unorganized mid-semester scrambling when you realize that maybe your habits are not getting you the grades you want. 

10. DO put your best foot forward
I remember when I started my first semester, to a degree I wasn't sure what to expect. I think my biggest fear at that time was wondering if my classes would be very difficult and more time consuming than I was used to in high school. I also wondered how I would make friendships on a large campus and between all my classes and commitments. 

I would go back and tell my freshman self to do my best and keep school a top priority. And also study hardest for the first test ;)

I say this because when you try your best in your classes at the end of the semester instead of feeling regretful for sleeping in too much you can look back and adequately ask yourself:
  • Was I able to manage the workload from the number of credits I took this semester? Would less credits work better next semester?
  • What time am I most productive? Morning? Evening? 
  • What classes did I find most interesting?
  • Did I take mostly difficult classes or did I balance them out?
  • Did I get the grades I want? Why or why not? 
  • Was I very stressed trying to get those grades?
  • Can I take on a volunteer/intern position next semester?
Side note: College definitely makes you become more efficient with your time!  


11. DO connect with other freshmen + mentors 
It's not much of a secret that connections can give you an upper hand and while there certainly seems to be a push to make connections on campus I think it is important to view these relationships as a way to expand your college experience instead of a chore. Be friendly and helpful and others might just return the favor!

12. DO trust your gut
I mean this in a safety sort of sense, but also to trust where your heart is most happy doing. And knowing when to ask for help when the going gets tough. I look back at my first couple of semesters and I feel as though I did not take advantage of the resources out there. The opportunities and resources are there, you just have to go out and seek them. And don't be afraid to turn down opportunities if they don't feel right. 

13. DO take advantage of career focus fairs
...and other university hosted events. Great chance to make new connections, but also find new perspectives and insights. Best of all they are free and usually give out goodies. Sometimes there's even opportunities for free trips to company tours and other places. Be curious, it doesn't hurt to try!

14. DON'T overlook the class syllabus
Not all classes are created equal. And avoid surprises! take advantage of the first week to switch professors if you need to. Overall trust your gut on this one. 

15. DO stay as organized as you can
Easier said than done, but believe me! This one is hard when college life is throwing things at you from every angle. Having a way to organize it all lets me breathe though it all. If being organized is not your strongest suit, make the effort to at least stay organized at the beginning of the semester. It makes a huge difference. 


16. DO take a few steps out of your comfort zone
Attend university events, make connections, try new lunch spots. make this a fun memorable experience by trying things you wouldn't normally do. There's no telling what new things may inspire you or new friendships you may make. 

17. DO see your advisor often
On that note don't stick to a mediocre advisor either. There are the advisors that are dull and dry, and then there are the advisors who are genuinely glad to help you and feel more like a friend. Find the one that is like a friend! Also, If you ever have any doubt or lingering question, make sure to get it answered. When it comes to issues of class repeats and scholarship renewal and everything in between, the fine print can be confusing and it is important to have clear answers and stay informed.  You can't fly by with the "I didn't know" excuse since it's your job to be informed now. 


18. DO attempt your best effort
If you don't try your best, you won't know what you can accomplish. I mean this in terms of knowing what kind and how many classes you can tackle a semester plus other extracurriculars. It's great to be able to look back and know you put your best foot forward. 

19. DO search for opportunities (and resources)
College has a lovely way of opening so many opportunities. All you have to do is look and ask around! If you are unsure where to start, look at community postings for your college, check in at the career center or at the advising office and signup for their email newsletter to stay up to date.

20. DON'T slack on your personal finances
In fact now is the time to start (if you haven't already) to practice good money habits, no matter your financial situation in college. Consider budgeting out your income each month and tracking your expenses. It may be wise to acquire a flexible part time if you can manage it, but first and foremost don't forget that your education is an investment in yourself that will eventually pay off.  And also on that note...

21. DON'T spend your money freely
The college experience has definitely made me picky on how I spend my money. I prioritize quality and versatility in terms of many of my purchases and this is because I have bigger financial goals that I did not used to have like, owning my car before graduation and traveling to oversea countries, and paying off my school loan in 2 years after graduation. You might not yet be thinking of these goals or you might have even bigger goals! But what ever the case is, be wise about spending your money and pay yourself first by saving. I just think about it this way: the more I save now, the sooner I get to see my goals and i'm pretty darn excited about my goals.  It's going to take a few sacrifices, but it will definitely be worth it! 

Side tip: If you want to make a purchase wait at least a day to decide if you really want it/need it, especially if it is a large purchase


22. DON'T feel like you need to fit a mold
Another amazing thing about college is that you can have particularly unique hobbies and still find others who share similar interests with you. There is only one of you, and you should feel welcome to embrace that because you have your own talents and points of view to offer and that is valuable!  

23. DO follow your best interests
Remember that you are doing this for you. No one else. You'll have to make difficult decisions at times, but just remember to make the choices that reflect the best for you.


24. DON'T forget how lucky you are...
and have faith. It is a privilege to be attending college and to be able to make such a large investment in yourself. You are smart and so fortunate that your experiences have led you start this new chapter in your life. :)

Dani & a daisy



photo credit: Leonardo Wong


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