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Famous Words of Wisdom for International Happiness Day

Instrumented in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly, International Happiness Day strives towards the global happiness of men, women and children. Accordingly, in 2015, the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals aiming to end poverty, protect and planet and reduce inequality; the essential factors the UN believes to be responsible to determining our global happiness.

To remind our readers of the importance of being happy and support the UN’s initiative of development goals by 2030 to secure global happiness, here are our top words of wisdom to help surround yourself with positivity and never-ending enthusiasm for International Happiness Day!

Mahatama Gandhi, Indian Activist

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

1. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

Fridha Kahlo, Artist

Image Courtesy of Flickr

2. “I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”

Mother Teresa, Catholic Nun and Missionary

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3. “Its not about how much you do, but how much you put into what you do that counts.”

Angelina Jolie, Actress

Image Courtesy of Flickr

4. “I’ve realized that being happy is a choice. You never want to rub anybody the wrong way or not be fun to be around, but you have to be happy. When  I get logical and I don’t trust my instincts- that’s when I get into trouble.”

Mark Twain, Writer, Lecturer and Humorist

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

5. “The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up.”

Tenzin Gyatso, Dalai Lama XIV

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6. “Happiness is not something readily made. It comes from your own actions.”

Gautama Buddha

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7. “There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the Path.”

John Lennon, British Musician

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8. “When I was 5 years old my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and i told them they didn’t understand life.”

Albert Einstein, Scientist

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

9. “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not people or objects.”

Martin Luther King Jr., Civil Rights Activist

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10. “Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching, forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”

See Also:

Three Celebrity Skincare Routines to Inspire Your Own

Highlights From The 2019 Oscars

Words of Wisdom for International Women’s Day

 

Sell Textbooks

Textbooks Begone: How to Put Cash Back in Your Pockets and Ease the Pain of Outrageous Book Prices

There are few things more frustrating than staring at a stack of expensive books that cost you hundreds of dollars and will probably never be opened again. But at the end of each semester, millions upon millions of college students across the country do just that.

The average college student spends over $1,200 a year on books and materials[1]. That’s an enormous amount of money, and with sky-high tuition fees, rent, and bills, very few college students can afford to blow that kind of cash on books that effectively become paperweights once the semester ends.

On-campus used bookstores might take your textbooks off your hands—if you’ve got the specific ones they’re looking for and they’re in perfect condition—but they’re going to offer you pennies on the dollar or, worse, put your book on consignment, forcing you to wait for payment until they sell (which may never happen).

Traditionally, there hasn’t been a good option for students looking to recoup their outrageous book costs. But now there is: TextbookCashback.com.

The easiest way to sell unwanted books

TextbookCashback.com is an online book buyback company that stands out because of how easy it is to get rid of your old books at a price that makes it worth your while. The site is incredibly easy to use, shipping is a breeze, and payment is extremely prompt.

All you have to do is type in the ISBN of the book you’re looking to sell, and the site will instantly provide you with the price they’re currently paying for that book. The site pays more for most books than the major competitors, and if you’re happy with the price, you simply print out the free USPS shipping label provided and drop your book in the mail. As soon as it arrives and is accepted, TextbookCashback.com will cut you a cheque or pay you instantly via PayPal.

The process is quick and painless, making it an ideal solution for students with stacks of unwanted books that could be money in the bank instead.

Wear and Tear? No Problem!

Used bookstores and other buyback services are extremely picky with what they’ll accept, often to the point of being unreasonable. It’s crazy to think a student hoping to resell their textbook at the end of the semester can’t jot a note on a page or highlight a passage, but that seems to be what a lot of companies expect.

At TextbookCashback.com things like minimal highlighting or writing, slight cover damage, and normal wear and tear are no problem. If your book is a valid US student edition, and on their current buy list, you’re good to go. Not all books are eligible for buyback at all times, but the list is constantly changing and updating, so even if they aren’t buying the book you’re trying to sell today, they might be soon.

Get Paid Quickly with Near-Zero Effort

Selling books on your own is a pain in the butt. Putting up a listing, negotiating a price, and arranging a pickup or delivery all take time and effort—assuming you can find a buyer at all. TextbookCashback.com removes all of that headache so that you can turn your books into cash as quickly as possible.

Once your books arrive, acceptance and payment are extremely fast. If you choose to be paid by check, your payment will hit the mail the next day and be at your door a week or so later. If you opt for PayPal, you’ll be paid instantly upon acceptance. The only work required of you is to print out the shipping labels and dump your books in the mail.

You can also rest assured that the amount on your check will be the amount you were quoted. Some book buyback companies have a bad reputation for quoting one price and then offering a lower amount once they’ve got your books in hand. Those kinds of shady practices give the whole industry a bad name, but with TextbookCashback.com what you see on the quote page is what you get.

If you’re like most college students and you’d rather have cash in your pocket than a stack of old, unwanted textbooks, you owe it to yourself to check out TextbookCashback.com. It only takes a few minutes to look up your books and if you like what you see, you’re only a few clicks away from reclaiming some of the hard earned money that outrageous textbook prices steal away from you every semester.

Go to www.TextbookCashback.com now and see how much money you can put back into your pockets today!

[1] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/whats-behind-the-soaring-cost-of-college-textbooks/

Need Motivation? Meet Astronaut Abby

Need Motivation? Meet Astronaut Abby

Abigail Harrison—known online as Astronaut Abby—is a 20-year-old aspiring astronaut, college student, influencer and creator of the non-profit, The Mars Generation.

The Mars Generation has more than 1,800 students worldwide participating in an innovative Student Space Ambassador Leadership program and has sent over 36 youths to space camp.

We spoke with Abby about her inspiring plans to be the first astronaut to walk on Mars, as well as how she is exciting others about pursuing a career in STEM and how she manages to balance college, work and her personal life.

College News: How did you know you wanted to be an astronaut? 

Abigail Harrison: I’ve wanted to be an astronaut for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of looking up at the night sky and knowing that I wanted to explore the unknown.

 CN: Who were your role models growing up?

AH: Growing up I looked up to many astronauts—especially the women! Especially prominent to me was Astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger. Not only was she an astronaut, but also an educator. It was her great passion for sharing space exploration that made me look up to her. Three years ago this came full circle when she agreed to join The Mars Generation board of advisors.

 CN: What’s so special about Mars?

 AH: Landing humans on Mars is the next stepping stone for humanity in space exploration. It’s just hard enough to make it nearly impossible, but still doable. It will push our boundaries, challenge the very things we believed to be true about our universe, and allow us to make life here on Earth better. It’s also a great opportunity to search for extra-terrestrial life.

CN: What does your future look like in regards to reaching Mars? 

AH: After graduating from Wellesley this upcoming spring with a BS/BA in Biology and Russian Area Studies, I’m planning to go to grad school for a PhD in astrobiology or planetary sciences/geophysics. Following that, I will work for a few years doing scientific research to gain experience and then I will start applying to the NASA astronaut corp. Throughout this time span, I’ll also be pursuing other skills and qualifications which will hopefully aid in becoming an astronaut and eventually getting to Mars. These skills include obtaining my pilots license (this winter break), continuing to obtain advanced certifications in SCUBA diving, studying Russian and Mandarin Chinese, skydiving licenses and anything else that can strengthen by application to the NASA astronaut corps.

CN: Can you tell us a bit about your non-profit?

AH: The Mars Generation is a 501(c)(3) focusing on educating the public about the importance of space exploration and science literacy, inspiring young people about STEM, and supporting them to pursue careers in STEM fields. We run several core programs including our Future of Space Outreach Program, Student Space Ambassador Leadership Program and our Space Camp Scholarship program that provides full paid (transportation included) scholarships to students experiencing poverty.

CN: What inspired you to start The Mars Generation?

AH: When I was 15 years old I worked with Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano as his Earth Liaison, sharing his experiences living and working in space with my social media audience. After working with Luca during his six months in space, I realized how important it is to provide inspiration and educational resources for today’s youth. If we want to see humans walk on Mars—to truly become The Mars Generation—we need to be creating a culture today that will result in a highly skilled and passionate work force in the future. Other than space exploration, educational advocacy is my greatest passion in life. 

CN: Why do you think girls are still underrepresented in STEM occupations?

AH: There’s a long standing stereotype that girls aren’t good at STEM—a stereotype which causes bias in the way girls view themselves and their performance and in the way that everyone else see’s and treats them. We often consider this kind of bias to be a thing of the past, but it’s really not. Whether consciously or subconsciously, it still exists and is hugely problematic.

CN: How can we combat this? 

AH: An incredibly important way to combat the underrepresentation of girls in STEM is to showcase women who are already doing great things in STEM fields. By having highly visible female role models we can teach today’s girls to be able to see themselves pursuing STEM fields, and today’s boys to not be surprised when they see girls excelling in STEM careers. It’s especially important that these role models are visible in pop culture and media—where they’ll have the greatest impact. 

CN: What advice would you give to young girls who are apprehensive about pursuing a career in STEM?

AH: I would tell them that it’s okay to mess up! It’s okay to try something and then decide to go a different path! I think that as girls and women we feel that we need to be better—perfect, even—at things we’re told by society that we can’t do. This is exactly the opposite attitude needed for a career in STEM! A huge part of STEM is messing up—it’s failing 99 times and then succeeding on the 100th. That’s because it’s hard, and it’s not something natural—you have to learn it. It can be really easy to be discouraged early from STEM after failing a few times if you don’t realize how normal and vital to the learning process this is. 

CN: How do you balance college, work and life obligations? 

AH: It’s hard. Balancing my personal life, my work with The Mars Generation, college, and everything else is a constant struggle. I’m constantly double tasking and trying to squeeze every last second out of my days. For example, when traveling to speak at conferences or represent The Mars Generation as an influencer at events, I frequently find myself doing homework in cars, trains, buses, airports, planes—really wherever I can. Sometimes this means getting creative with how I study or what materials I have available. Even so, there are plenty of times where I really have to ask myself: “What’s important to me? What do I want to put my time and energy into?” And that means sometimes having to sacrifice something in order to do something else well.

CN: What would be your number one piece of advice for anyone starting out at college?

AH: Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. College is such an incredible opportunity to learn—both from your classes and from your classmates. But in order to do so you have to recognize that everyone has different talents. So not being the best at something isn’t a reason to not do it, it’s a reason to ask “how can I learn?” and “who can I learn from?”

CN: What is it really like to be an influencer?

AH: Honestly it oscillates between being incredibly tiring and out of this world rewarding. Being able to share my journey towards the red planet with millions of people here on Earth has been an incredible honor.

Is Stress and Anxiety Hurting Your Academic Performance?

Is Stress and Anxiety Hurting Your Academic Performance?

When you arrive at College you are immediately hit with a multitude of pressures. These pressures—causing overwhelming stress—include:

  • Significant amounts of homework assignments and deadlines
  • Critical reviews by professors
  • Dealing with housing problems
  • Competitive grade performance
  • Lack of personal support systems
  • Inability to cope with stress and anxiety

The overwhelming psychological stress that the average student faces can seriously affect their mental focus while studying and the recall of information when taking tests. Test performance anxiety is quite common and can leave a student mentally blank when the pressure seems to boil-over!

These pressures are exponentially increased by trying to maintain part-time employment, extra- curricular activities and personal relationships. It becomes “too much on your plate”. But what can you do?

The common remedy is medication and counseling. Unfortunately, the medications can have nasty side effects and counseling can be frustrating with few immediate results.

Learning new coping skills that include practicing relaxation methods and anxiety relief techniques is any easy and affordable solution. All of this is now completely available on one website… www.AnxietyBeGone.com .

AnxietyBeGone.com is the largest site on the internet for teaching these self-help techniques. It is a membership subscription website that is amazingly affordable. But there is an enormous amount of information that’s completely free of charge. You can even get a free app for your phone… perfect for college students.

This app is called “The InstaCalm Stress & Anxiety Relief”, app. It has many functions that will:

  • Calm your nervous system early in the morning with a relaxation recording, “Deep Calmness”, before you head off to classes.
  • Help you quickly go to sleep at night, with the recording, “Sleep Now”.
  • A video that shows you how to stop an Anxiety Attack FAST!
  • A hypnotic recording, Stress Response Technique, will condition your mind to turn off stress like a light-switch, as well as, become calm with a deep breath and overcome procrastination.
  • Online access to “The Top 10 Anxiety Relief Techniques”.

The training tutorials in the courses on the AnxietBeGone.com, are super-charged with hypnotic recordings. This website and the hypnosis recordings were created by Charles Beeson, CHt., one of the country’s top experts in Anxiety Hypnotherapy.

So, if you are experiencing stress and anxiety that’s hurting your academic performance visit www.AnxietyBeGone.com and get your FREE Mobile App, today!

Top 5 TED Talks For College Graduates

Top 5 TED Talks For College Graduates

If you’re a recent college graduate, you’ve probably realized that the real world is hard, and you’re likely wishing that you’d paid more attention to the professional and practical advice that was offered to you during college.

If you’re in dire need of some guidance that extends deeper than how to deliver a firm handshake, let us introduce you to the inspirational world of TED Talks. These College News favorites will help you stay positive, motivated and true to yourself.

Why some of us don’t have one true calling, Emilie Wapnick

Has the classic question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” ever repulsed or confused you?

In this illuminating talk, writer and artist Emilie Wapnick describes the kind of people she calls “multipotentialites”—those who have numerous interests and the desire to move on to something new after developing a specific skill.

“But then I would become interested in something else, something totally unrelated, and I would dive into that, and become all-consumed, and I’d be like, ‘Yes! I found my thing’, and then I would hit this point again where I’d start to get bored.”

If this sounds like you, Wapnick relates to the anxiety of pursuing a career and feeling abnormal. She emphasizes that this is an illogical, culturally engrained fear, and explains why multipotentialites are needed in the workforce just as much as those who are “specialists”. If you’re feeling stressed about choosing a major or finding the perfect job, find comfort in this talk.

Why you will fail to have a great career, Larry Smith 

Economist Larry Smith advocates that there is no such thing as a good career. Instead, there are great careers, passion, purpose and power in the word: “unless”.

“Passion is your greatest love. Passion is the thing that will help you create the highest expression of your talent. Passion, interest—it’s not the same thing. Are you really going to go to your sweetie and say, ‘Marry me! You’re interesting.’ Won’t happen, and you will die alone.”

If you’re about to settle into a job that your parents, your fear or your practicality have chosen for you, this extremely motivating talk could set you on a path to become extraordinary instead.

The skill of self-confidence, Dr. Ivan Joseph

Athletic Director and former varsity soccer coach, Dr. Ivan Joseph is often asked for the most important skill he looks for when recruiting. His answer: self-confidence.

For Joseph, confidence is the ability to believe in yourself, regardless of odds, difficulty or adversity. If you’re thinking that this is harder than it sounds, then you’re both right and wrong—Joseph insists that confidence can be trained with hard work. Through repetition, self-affirmation and by persevering through failure, you could develop this desirable skill.

“There’s enough people that are telling us that we can’t do it; that we’re not good enough. Why do we want to tell ourselves that?”

Graduating college and stepping into the real world requires confidence, but Joseph explains that we cannot expect ourselves to feel confident until we are familiar with a situation and know how to tackle it. The only way to achieve this is to begin. 

Why 30 is not the new 20, Meg Jay

If you learnt this lesson re-watching the iconic movie 13 Going On 30, you’ll know that assuming that life automatically sorts itself out when you hit 30 is naïve. Psychologist Meg Jay will encourage you to throw out your collection of pizza boxes and stop considering your 20s as a throwaway decade.

“Claiming your 20s is one of the simplest, yet most transformative, things you can do. Do something that adds value to who you are. Do something that’s an investment in who you might want to be next. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.”

If you’re feeling lost as a twentysomething, Jay believes that one good TED Talk could help you to take control of your defining decade, use your weak ties, pick your family and get some identity capital.

Overcoming hopelessness, Nick Vujicic

This powerful talk by motivational speaker Nick Vujicic is packed full of valuable first-hand advice on overcoming hopelessness and learning to be kind to yourself and those around you.

“Think of the three biggest discourages in your life. They’re not your biggest discourages. You are. You are. It only takes seconds for me to tell you something discouraging but then, you may never forget my words.”

Transitioning into the job market can feel like a hopeless, unfair task, but being reminded that we are not born with hope but born to live through pain, could inspire you to have faith in your future. 

Further reading: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known In College

10 Things I Wish I’d Known In College

10 Things I Wish I’d Known In College

As a recent college graduate, I can look back on my school years with some fond feelings and some memories that I’d rather just forget. So that you don’t have to make the same (many) mistakes that I did, here are the 10 things that I wish someone had told me before I’d set off for the chaos that is freshman year.

Your major will not define your entire life

This is one that I feel particularly passionate about because I seemed to spend most of my college years trying to explain—whether to students who actually had their lives figured out, or to my grandma—why I’d chosen to major in a “pointless” subject like English. This proved pretty difficult considering I wasn’t even sure why I’d chosen to go to college and “but I don’t want to be an engineer” didn’t seem to be a good enough answer. Obviously, the first thing to glean from this is that taking your time to make an educated decision about something that’s going to take up a lot of your time and resources, is probably a good idea.

Luckily, I discovered the concept of transferable skills. Sure, if you major in “Bowling Industry Management and Technology”, you’ve probably got a specific career path in mind. But if you decide somewhere down the line that bowling isn’t for you, you’ve learned management skills that can be applied in any workplace. More importantly, I loved English—and isn’t that the point?

Grades are actually important…

Unfortunately, despite the many transferable skills you might learn at college (like how to do laundry, or perhaps how to sleep and look like you’re concentrating at the same time), employers do evaluate you on your GPA (many companies actually filter applications by GPA). When it comes down to it, you’re at college to learn, so prioritize your studies, work hard and try your best to maintain a good GPA.

But a bad grade is not the end of the world

Throughout college, it was not unusual to find me shuddering over the memory of one particularly terrible grade. The dread and nausea had been made worse because I knew that I’d deserved it—I’d rushed the assignment to spend more time with my friends. With all my plans to graduate and stumble upon a career, it hadn’t really crossed my mind that I could, very possibly, fail college. This grade told my sleep-deprived and caffeinated self that my future was over.

After an extremely emotional and somewhat embarrassing visit to my professor’s office, and a math calculation by a friend who actually understood numbers, I was relieved to discover that this blip had barely affected my average. It turns out that we all have good and bad days, and if anything, this terrifying reality check shocked me into trying harder at everything else.

You don’t have to go to college straight away

One of my biggest regrets is not taking a gap year. With the relentless pressure to go to college, staying on at school can feel like the only option, but the reality is: it’s not. Your college education will still be there when you’ve had a bit more time to figure it all out.

Having a part time job is underrated 

Having something that is outside of school and being surrounding by a completely different type of friend is refreshing. Looking back, the excuse to leave the house for an environment where I had fun and physically was not allowed to study, definitely got me through my final semester. Also, the extra money and experience didn’t hurt.

Make the most of the experience

It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of college and adult life. Unfortunately, this stress does not stop after college, so you might as well make the most of it while you can. Say yes to classes that intrigue you, join in activities, learn a random skill and always take advantage of fresh air when you can.

Toxic people are to be eliminated from your life

It took me a good few years to get this mantra down. When you go to college, you’re thrown together with random people and forced to make friends or else have nobody to borrow milk from during times of need. This does not a good friendship make.

If somebody is negative, belittling or controlling, or simply brings way too much drama into your life, it’s okay to distance yourself. Toxic people will always drain your attempts to be positive and drag you down with them, which is not part of the college experience.

College can be lonely and that’s okay

Especially in freshman year, there’s an expectation that you should be having the best time of your life. Often on social media, this is reflected by constant partying, social engagements, and people spending money that they don’t have. Whilst I was happy to enjoy this unrealistic way of life for a while, it quickly became exhausting.

Surrounded by a crowd of semi-familiar faces, it is actually easy and normal to feel lonely at college. After moving away from everything you’re familiar with, it’s important to take time out to assess your state-of-mind and recharge.

Stop taking things personally

This is one that I’m still working towards. Being in a competitive situation that forces you to compare yourself to your peers can damage your self-esteem and solicit your defence mechanisms. By knowing your worth, not jumping to conclusions and letting things like a bad grade go, you’re automatically promoted to the master of your own emotions and energy levels.

Being addicted to coffee is totally fine…probably

My dependence on caffeine is definitely helping me now that I’ve graduated and actually have to get out of bed in the mornings. Take this advice at your own peril.

Further reading: 5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

Time Management 101: Keeping Up with College Life

Time Management 101: Keeping Up with College Life

Now that fall is well and truly here, the novelty of college has probably worn off a little. If you’ve suddenly found yourself face-to-face with reality, completely exhausted and having lost every single piece of stationary that you started with, you’re not alone.

Time management is a big concern for most college students. The flexibility of independence can also make it difficult to prioritise college work, social events, basic hygiene tasks and the hundreds of voicemails that your parents have left you.

Before you decide to give up and take a nap, follow these tips and you could be on your way to having it all.

Organization is the key to success

Whether you always carry the new (and, lets face it, completely blank) planner that you bought at the start of the year in your bag for peace of mind, or you often find yourself frowning at indecipherable reminders on your phone’s notes app, settling on a solid organization system is vital for time management.

Even if you pride yourself on having a fantastic memory, writing everything down will ensure that you know what’s on your to-do list. With millions of productivity apps at your dispense, logging events and setting reminders will lift the added pressure of remembering your homework and help you to generate a productive schedule. Just remember to bite the bullet and prioritize which tasks make it to the top of your list.

Practice makes perfect

Routine and schedule are two key concepts that are fundamental to time management at college, where there is no one to hold you accountable for your whereabouts. Typically, it is expected that you allocate around 35 hours per week for working and studying, including the time you spend in class. With other obligations and social activities in mind, creating a weekly timetable that leaves time for independent study will help you to stay focused and productive. Blocking out leisure time will also give you something to look forward to each day, and you’ll probably work faster knowing that the end is in sight.

It can be easy to fall into the habit of staying up late in order to squeeze in everything on your to-do list, but getting enough sleep each night is one of the most important steps in your routine. Luckily, the idea that everyone needs exactly eight hours sleep is unrealistic—some people may only need six, and some may need nine. Sleep is often considered in terms of 90-minute cycles and you should get at least five whole cycles per night (7.5 hours). Here, the key is to set a time to go to bed every night and stick to it. Every time you change your body’s wake time, it suffers something resembling jet lag, making you feel groggy and affecting your performance, even if you’ve had more sleep than usual. 

Limit procrastination

We’ve all been there. Making the executive decision to take a five minute break and cheer up with a cat video seems like a great idea, until you catch yourself poised to click “adopt” four hours later, only to realize that your accommodation doesn’t allow pets. Cue the panic, self-hatred, stress and eventually a nap to make it all go away, and you probably haven’t achieved a great deal. Breaking up your work into small steps can help you to focus and make the task at hand seem less overwhelming. Create a deadline for each of these steps so that you’re not waiting until the final deadline is near to begin work.

Nobody is perfect—instead of punishing yourself for wasted time, assign rewards for any work that you do complete. Lunch, an episode on Netflix, or a free hour to spend with your friends can all be incentives to be productive. Limiting distractions like your phone, social media and TV will make these rewards even more enjoyable, and seeking out a buddy to hold you accountable will ensure that you don’t break your own rules.

The key to time management can be as simple as understanding yourself. Self-awareness will help you to recognise the times of day when you’re most focused, and whether you’re more productive brainstorming with a group or on your own.

Healthy body, healthy mind

You’ve probably heard this one countless times, but making sure you allow time for self-care is essential for your mental and physical health, as well as your attention-span and energy levels. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week can literally boost your brain power.

Ask for help

Ever heard the idea that we learn from our mistakes? If you’re struggling to find a balance at college, that’s okay. Adjustment takes time, but you may need to accept that you’re trying to take on too much. Talking to a trusted friend, family member or mental health representative could help to ease some of the pressure and enable you to rationally think through your options and figure out a new plan.

Further reading: 5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

Dr. Sherry Benton on Mental Health Support at College

Dr. Sherry Benton on Mental Health Support at College

If you’re a college student and you’re struggling with mental health, you’re definitely not alone. College News got advice from an expert.

With a recent research study showing that one in five university students are affected by anxiety or depression, the pressure on campus facilities is high. College News discussed the problem with Dr. Sherry Benton.

Dr. Benton is a psychologist and mental health care administrator with over 22 years of experience. She is also the founder of TAO Connect—a digital platform that functions to make mental health recovery treatments easily accessible.

College News: How can college students reach out about mental health struggles?

Dr. Benton: Most campuses have a counseling center, counseling service or psychological services. Find your campuses service and learn about their programs and services. Typically, they offer a range of options.

CN: What kinds of mental health support facilities should students be looking out for when applying for colleges?

DB: Ideally, campuses should take a campus wide, comprehensive approach—including prevention, resilience training, counseling, groups, bystander education programs and other services. The Jed foundation, “Jed Campus” program works with a campus over a four-year period to insure the campus approach to mental health, substance abuse and suicide, are comprehensive and well-coordinated. Jed Campus designation is an excellent way to insure a campus has taken these issues seriously and thought out the best approaches for them.

CN: What are the most common and the most effective ways to deliver mental health therapy?

DB: Different people have different needs and respond to different approaches. Traditional face-to-face individual psychotherapy is the most common and best known. However, research has shown it is not more effective than group therapy or internet based cognitive behavioral therapy for many common problems. Many people also find self-help or apps effective for them.

CN: Do you think that students do not receive enough mental health help at college?

DB: I think most universities work very hard to meet the need, yet providing psychotherapy is really expensive and often difficult to access everywhere not just in universities. Using effective models such as stepped-care can help campuses to stretch limited resources to provide more help to more students. In stepped-care, students are quickly assessed and then begin with a level of help likely to be helpful. Progress is monitored regularly and students can be moved to more intensive or less intensive levels of help depending on their responses.

CN: How can campuses raise awareness and take a proactive approach to mental health?

DB: Campuses can raise awareness through the following: educational campaigns, resilience training in freshman orientation classes, bystander education programs like Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) or Kognito, education programs through Greek houses, residence halls, athletic departments, clubs and organizations.

CN: Are there exercises that students can practice on their own to help improve their mental state?

DB: Mindfulness meditation is something everyone should do. The many health benefits and mental health benefits would suggest that daily meditation should be as consistent as brushing your teeth. Another option is TAO Connect, which provides students access to its self-help courses whenever they want, without having to make an appointment to see a therapist.

CN: What is TAO Connect?

DB: We are a suite of online tools for mental health screening, assessment, patient education, skill development and progress monitoring. TAO can be used as self-help or with a therapist or case manager. TAO’s materials are interesting and engaging with actors in scenes, animations, interactive exercises and journaling.

CN: How can students take advantage of TAO Connect?

DB: There are 120 colleges in the US and Canada offering TAO’s programs to students either as self-help or through their counseling center. Contact your counseling center to find out if your school subscribes to TAO.

Further reading: You’re Not Alone: Facing Loneliness In College

5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

These low-maintenance houseplants have numerous benefits that every college student should get behind.

Whether you’re green-thumbed or not, gardening is probably the last priority on any college student’s agenda. Actually, it’s probably not on the agenda at all. With such a huge increase in responsibility, starting college can cause our actual priorities to become overtaken by stress, anxiety and loneliness.

Surprisingly, having a houseplant in your living space is scientifically proven to boost productivity, whilst also improving your mood. Plants can even help you to sleep, making them perfect companions for the stretched student. College News tracked down some of the easiest plants to care for, so there’s no excuse for killing your new roomie. Here are five reasons that your new best friends are plants.

  1. They clean the air

Indoor air pollutants are ranked one of the top five environmental risks to public health. Luckily, the evidence that plants clean the air actually comes from NASA. According to NASA, plants are “nature’s life support system” because they absorb some of the particulates from the air and also take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen. Beyond this, microorganisms present in the plant’s soil also have a cleaning effect, which boosts your mood.

Our favourite plant to clean the air: Peace Lily

Care level: Easy

  1. They boost productivity

According to a study from Michigan University, being around plants can increase memory retention by up to 20 percent. Studies also showed improvements in both concentration and productivity. Large plants can also apparently absorb, diffract and reflect background noise. By also boosting alertness and reducing mental fatigue, having houseplants can literally make you smarter.

Our favourite plant for productivity: Spider Plant

Care level: Effortless

  1. They make you healthy 

At the Agricultural University of Norway, a study proved that the humidity generated by houseplants decreases dry skin, colds, sore throats, coughs, and the spread of flu viruses. Another study showed that being around plants post-surgery, led to significant improvement in physiologic recovery and lower systolic blood pressure. These benefits also extended to cognitive healing—patients with plants in their rooms experienced lower levels of pain, anxiety and fatigue.

Plants such as Aloe Vera are also medicinal by nature. Aloe can cure burns, ease constipation, aid cavities and ulcers, and has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Keeping one in your kitchen is probably a good idea if your unique gourmet cooking is considered a hazard.

Our favourite medicinal plant: Aloe Vera

Care level: Very easy

  1. They help you sleep

Most plants stop taking in carbon dioxide at night and instead respire like humans. However, some loveable specimens actually do the opposite. These plants are able to improve the air that you breathe during the night, increasing your sleep quality. Fragranced plants such as Lavender are also widely recognised as sleep aids. Lavender has been proven to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels—making it the perfect relaxant for your dorm room.

Our favourite plant for sleep: Snake Plant

Care level: Indestructible

  1. They reduce stress, loneliness and depression

Whilst it has been proven that houseplants reduce stress and anxiety levels, the act of caring for a plant can also better your mental health. Cultivating something has been shown to be calming and can boost self-esteem and feelings of control. It might sound cliché, but having something to water can get you out of bed in the mornings, boost your optimism, and improve your overall wellbeing.

Our favourite plant for mental health: Anthurium

Care level: Pretty easy

Further Reading: You’re Not Alone: Facing Loneliness In College

Girl studies for post-graduate degree with head in her books

Applying for a Post-Graduate Degree

When we get to the end of our studies, many of us are at a loss as to the next steps in our careers and our lives. At this stage, it can be tempting to apply for a post-graduate degree.

After all, more time spent at college seems like fun!

But it is vital to go into post-graduate study for the right reasons. It is important to make measured decisions and not act on impulse or whim. At the end of the day, you will be investing a lot of time and—more importantly—money in the program. And some may question if a college degree is worth the effort.

Read on for useful tips to bear in mind when contemplating to apply for post-graduate study.

Don’t rush into it

First of all, you should think about whether heading straight back into studying is the right option for you. Maybe you should take a year out to relax and earn some cash before embarking on your next challenge.

Contrary to what you might think, many employers look favorably upon those who have removed themselves from their comfort zone to work and travel abroad. It demonstrates a certain quality of independence most employers will value.

Also, don’t simply go into post-graduate study because you want to stall your entrance into the ‘real world’. You should think carefully about whether the course you intend to enrol in is going to help you with your career down the line.

Rather than undertake a post-graduate degree because you’re unsure of the next step to take, you should ask yourself: will it be worth my time and money? Where will this course get me?

On that note, if you haven’t already, make some goals and objectives.

What are your goals with a post-graduate degree?

Before making any major life decision, it is always a good idea to set out some targets and goals.

In this case, some questions to get you started could include: what are you trying to achieve from your move into post-graduate study? What do you hope to get out of it? How will this course further your career ambitions—if at all?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to consider why you are thinking about a post-graduate degree. You should also reflect on whether you could achieve your career goals via other means.

Of course, some professions require a master’s degree or higher level of academic qualification. But others—such as journalism, business, finance and marketing—offer industry-standard qualifications at a fraction of the cost of a post-graduate degree. For this reason, think about how you can get better value for money.

Earn while you learn

Making money while studying is, for most of us, the only feasible way to fund a post-graduate degree. Therefore, it is crucial to consider if your chosen mode of study is compatible with part-time work. If not, you may struggle financially, making your degree more stressful than it needs to be.

Many post-graduate degrees offer the option of part-time study. Opting for this route will ensure you get the most out of your degree without compromising your ability to make ends meet.

Why not take a job in a café, bar or restaurant? Hospitality work can be a fun way to make new friends. You could even meet influential figures who might help you out.

Weigh up the rewards of a post-graduate degree

Think about what this course is going to do for you.

Will it help you obtain skills in employability? Or do you already possess those skills? Is the cost of the degree going to be outweighed by potential future earnings? Will you be able to pay back your loans?

All the above questions are vital when you consider a post-graduate degree. Think about their answers sensibly to avoid disappointment or a difficult financial situation later on.

Remember: be realistic about what post-graduate study is; it’s not a golden ticket to employment!

Be ready for a challenge

After you have deliberated on all of the above, if you still think a post-graduate degree is right for you, be ready to embrace a challenge.

Post-graduate study is much harder than undergraduate.

You will be expected to do more reading and researching than ever before. If you think this workload will be too tough, perhaps post-graduate study is not for you.

Think carefully about whether you are willing to devote a whole new year of your life to intense study. Post-grads are expected to explore their subjects in comprehensive depth and detail. Be prepared for this and bring your A game!

So, before you fill out that application form, consider the above tips to ensure you make an informed decision.