This summer it is too hot in most of the country to do anything outdoors, making it the perfect time get organized for college in the fall. Sit down in some nice cool air conditioning with an iced coffee and get to work. What needs to be done won’t wait and it will make your life much easier in a few months. It’s time to get organized, get focused and get prepared for college.
Smart Phones Make Smart Students
Most university bound students already have a smart phone. Those that don’t need to borrow, beg or work their way into one. This is without a doubt the #1 weapon for college success.
Miraculously everything needed to make the first year at university better is held within this little box. The best news yet it that it is easy, fun, and inexpensive to put a smart phone to work for college prep.
Task It Baby
Task management applications are easy to use and you can cheaply download one onto your smart phone. Some of the best ones are free. Look for an application that will sync across all your devices. Some task management applications even allow collaboration in real time on projects with other students. For students with an iPhone here are three applications made just for you:
Student Time Tracker
For university students carrying Android phones such as an HTC, here are three tremendous task tools to keep everything organized at college:
Applications that work across almost all platforms include both Remember the Milk and Wunderlist. It’s hard to get things done if you don’t know what you are doing!
College Cash Heads
Now, not in September, is the time to get the money situation organized with your parents and with the bank. Getting a student loan and financial aid? Don’t expect your money to come in on time or in full. Too often there is a hold up with student loans and financial aid that just adds extra stress exactly when you don’t need it- your first quarter or semester at college. Prepare in advance just in case by setting up a bank account with the school’s credit union. A bank account at your parents’ bank can also work well. Credit unions typically have better rates and fewer fees than banks. Check and compare rates and fees before choosing. In addition, make sure to establish direct deposit electronically with your parents’ account just in case you need it. Most banks and credit unions now have mobile applications available for your smart phone. Secure your phone with a password and through advanced security settings.
Decorating Apps and Sites to get Just the Right College Décor
Heading for college means making a life of your own outside of your parent’s home. This is going to be your personal space and you have the ability to decorate it anyway you want to. Decorating might not seem like an important thing but your dorm room is an extension of your own personal style and it will often make a first impression on people in your dorm. How and whether a student decorates is up to them. Luckily, there are several online sites that are filled with DIY decorating ideas, college dorm room supplies and tips for saving money your first year in college.
Some key things to know about college dorm living include:
1. This is a communal environment. Noise and light are often an issue. At the top of every student list should be eyeshades, earplugs, noise reducing headphones, a small lamp for studying, a bath caddy and thongs for the shower room. Throw in a bottle of Aspirin, Tylenol and Tums for good measure.
2. Dorm room beds are longer than standard single beds. Specially designed X-long dorm room bedding is available in cute, reasonable coordinated packages from online college bedding sites like Our Campus Market.
3. Most students share a dorm room with another student. Try to determine as quickly as possible if you are compatible with the other student or not. If it seems like the human cockroach from hell has turned up instead of a roommate be prepared to go to the Resident Assistant (RA) as quickly as possible. No matter what do not give up in the quest to get rid of the gargoyle. Your stuff, time, sanity and grades are at stake!
Better yet try to hook up with other students from your area now. Look for someone headed to the same university and get to know him or her through online social networking sites. Then ask to share a room and put a request in with the university.
Don’t necessarily pick your best friend to be your roommate. Cousins, brothers and sisters, the rabbi’s daughter that you have known since you were three- these are all roommate non-options. Part of the college experience is meeting new people. A roommate is an opportunity to establish new relationships and broaden your horizons. However, meeting the roommate online and then in person before living with them will help to ensure that you both like each other and will mutually benefit from the relationship.
Despite popular lore Organizational systems aren’t just for engineering geeks and pen fanatics. Dorm rooms are small. Putting things away isn’t really optional; if you don’t put it away you will be stepping over it. Using organizational boxes, storage systems and closet organizers helps students put things away and it clears the mind. Having a level of control over your living space is psychologically important. College classes are stressful and the competition for everything from the best burgers in the cafeteria to boy/girl friends is a nightmare. In college the dorm room is one of the few things students control. Results are both quick and satisfying.
Again online shopping via the Internet is a great way to acquire decorating ideas and items to meet any budget. Sites like Pinterest are filled with fun college decorating ideas and links to organizational items and decorating sites.
Emotional Emptiness? There’s an App for that!
Many college students leave college every year not because they can’t hack it academically but because they are lonely and sad. This is a time when hormones are hopelessly out of control and yet supportive family and friends are far away. The stress of difficult classes, a few relationships gone wrong and it’s easy to get homesick, emotionally overwhelmed and feeling hopeless. Luckily students can prevent much of the emotional trauma right now using online preparation.
Start networking with Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumbler and the social site for your future college. Hook up with other students, professors and RAs. Students that currently attend the same college and those who are on their way to the same university next year are a great place to start new friendships. Searching and introducing yourself now while there is very little to do will translate into easy new friendships in the fall and quiet possibly an outstanding roommate option for next year.
From the current students ask as many questions as possible. Find out which classes to take and which teachers are the coolest. Ask about dorms, food, showers, weather, transportation, social scenes, gyms and the best places to buy used books. The more information you have before heading off to college the better. Answers to these and a thousand other questions are just a finger tap and a recharged battery away. Why learn it all when you get there? You can learn about these things at your leisure now while making new friends. It is a win win situation.
Using a smart phone and a little ingenuity can turn the dog days of summer into a bright future in the fall. Next year will be easier and a whole lot more fun. Every successful team out there uses preparation and planning to make their best plays. Why not do the same?