University can be a life-changing experience, from learning the skills needed to secure your dream job to making life-long friends.
From the friends made and knowledge gained to all those late nights spent playing beer pong, if you went to college, chances are you made some happy memories during your time as a student.
But at which universities will you make the most joyful memories?
With 59% of those aged 18 to 29 on Instagram, Resume.io figured the beloved photo app offered a unique glimpse into just how happy university students are.
So analysts at Resume.io used an AI emotion recognition tool to analyze thousands of Instagram photos geo-tagged at different universities across the U.S., Australia and the UK to find out which schools are home to the happiest students.
How Was This Study Conducted?
The team of data analysts at Resume.io started by manually curating a list of Instagram location pages for the top universities in the U.S., Australia and the UK. Just to give you a better idea, it was a list of Instagram location pages such as this one for Princeton University. These pages compile all the Instagram posts geotagged for that specific location.
The data analysts then collected as many available images as possible before cleaning up the list by removing duplicates and anonimizing the data. The last step was to run the images through an AI emotion recognition tool called Amazon Rekognition API to scan faces and calculate various metrics regarding facial expressions.
The Resume.io team focused on the ‘happiness’ metric, i.e., how likely a face is to be expressing happiness. For the purposes of the study, data analysts considered a face to be happy if its happiness score was given as equal to or greater than 75%.
With all this data in hand, Resume.io proceeded to rank universities in each country by the proportion of happy faces appearing in Instagram photos tagged there.
Below you’ll find the top 20 happiest colleges in each country according to Resume.io.
Bloomberg Philanthropies and Matriculate announced an expansion of their partnership to provide free, personal “near-peer” college advising to high-achieving students from lower-income families through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ CollegePoint initiative. Beginning with students graduating high school in 2023, CollegePoint will focus exclusively on empowering first-generation college students to enroll and graduate from the nation’s top colleges and universities. Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, also announced generous support to help Matriculate extend the impact of the CollegePoint initiative and serve more students nationally.
With recent data showing a national decline in college enrollment and that qualified, low-income, first-generation (students whose parents did not attend a four-year college or university) students are questioning the value and cost of a college education in greater numbers, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ken Griffin, and Matriculate are committed to helping ensure that high performing students in the U.S. have access to the best college guidance, financial aid information, and higher education opportunities regardless of their socio-economic background. With the right support and role models, these students can change the trajectory of their own lives and the lives of their families – which also provides tremendous benefits to our nation’s colleges, communities, and employers.
“As always, Bloomberg Philanthropies is committed to following the data,” said Jenny Sharfstein Kane who leads Bloomberg Philanthropies college access and success work. “The data from the past several years clearly shows that near-peer college advising as part of CollegePoint has had significant impact in helping lower-income students go to the top schools they deserve to attend. We are excited to double down our support on Matriculate and serve even more deserving students across the country.”
“We are deeply grateful for these two transformative investments in Matriculate’s near-peer model. For years, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ tremendous support and partnership has made our advising work possible,” said Madeline Kerner, CEO and Co-founder of Matriculate. “We are so grateful to have Ken Griffin and the Citadel and Citadel Securities team coming on board to help deepen our impact, particularly during this critical time for communities experiencing the continued impact of COVID. We look forward to empowering students through virtual, near-peer advising, and in doing so, increasing access and equity in higher education.”
3,000 students graduating high school in 2023 will be advised through CollegePoint; increasing to 3,500 students graduating in 2024; and growing to 4,000 students graduating in 2025. Bloomberg Philanthropies has committed $86 million to CollegePoint since its inception, including a new $12 million commitment to Matriculate over the next three years. Ken Griffin, Citadel, and Citadel Securities are committing $3 million in support over the next two years to Matriculate.
In 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies launched CollegePoint, which through a coalition of non-profit partners – including standardized testing partners College Board and ACT, and advising partners Matriculate, College Advising Corps, College Possible, and ScholarMatch – provided the first-ever one-on-one college advising services via phone, text, email, and video chat at scale to high achieving, lower-income high school students over an average of 15 months. The goal was to increase the number of high-achieving, lower-income students who attend selective institutions from one-third of the total pool to one-half by 2020, a goal which was reached a year early in 2019. In the past eight years, CollegePoint has provided virtual advising to 63,000 talented students.
Now, in response to an ongoing evaluation of the initiative, College Advising at a National Scale: Experimental Evidence from the CollegePoint initiative, all CollegePoint students will be supported by Matriculate’s successful near-peer Advising Fellows: college students trained by Matriculate to connect remotely with high school juniors and seniors, providing them with the guidance, information, and peer modeling they need to navigate the complex college application process. Near-peer advisors understand their advisees in ways that adults cannot –offering a personal perspective and problem-solving techniques that they themselves may have used in their own application processes. Their support often gives students the confidence they need to apply to top, high-graduation rate colleges they thought were unattainable and the understanding that their eligibility for aid makes attending college financially realistic for their families.
A randomized controlled trial done as part of the College Advising at a National Scale evaluation measured the unique effects of CollegePoint and its four advising organizations on student enrollment outcomes. The trial showed that Matriculate, founded in 2014, generated significant effects, including a nearly 9 percent increase in students attending high graduation rate colleges, and a 24 percent increase in students attending the nation’s top 80 colleges (Barron’s 1 institutions). The evaluation also highlighted the positive impact CollegePoint has had supporting first-generation college students, causing Bloomberg Philanthropies to focus on assisting first-generation students exclusively moving forward – especially given the increasing danger of these students not attending college due to recent COVID-19-related financial and emotional hardships.
Low-income, first-generation college students account for 40 percent of the overall entering-college population in the U.S., but only account for one third of college graduates. They often lack personalized guidance about which institutions are a good match for their level of academic achievement and interests, accurate information about the real costs of these institutions and the financial aid that is available to them, and models of students like themselves who have successfully made the transition to top-performing colleges and universities.
Research shows that first-generation college students disproportionately enroll at less selective colleges, despite experiencing higher graduation rates at more selective colleges. The graduation rate for first-generation students at open-admission schools is below half the rate for non-first-generation students by a gap of 23 percentage points. Once enrolled in college, lower-income, first-generation students perform as well as their more affluent peers – and by “undermatching” may limit their academic and professional prospects.
“One-on-one advising from near-peers who are in college and who have overcome many of the same obstacles current high school seniors face can be an effective strategy to improve college access and success for first-generation students,” shared Ben Castleman, the Newton and Rita Meyers Associate Professor in the Economics of Education, and the Founder and Director of the Nudge4 Solutions Lab, at the University of Virginia. “Matriculate’s evidence-based model is a promising approach to scale peer mentoring to thousands of academically-talented first-generation students across the country.”
CollegePoint works with partners including the College Board and ACT to proactively reach out to high-achieving (distinguished by their scores on the PSAT, SAT, or ACT, or by excelling on a rigorous high school curriculum), lower-income (annual family income of $80,000 or less) high school students in their junior year or the summer before their senior year and invite them to receive free, one-on-one, virtual college advising. Once they are matched with one of nearly 1,000 Matriculate Advising Fellows, students will connect with their Advising Fellow via phone, email, video chat and text over the following months. Advising Fellows serve as guides in the application process as well as models of matriculation, having successfully enrolled in top colleges themselves. With their Advising Fellow’s support, each student maps out what they are looking for in a college or university, builds a list of colleges, and applies for scholarships and other financial aid.
Moving forward, working with various partners, Bloomberg Philanthropies will continue to surface and implement lessons learned from CollegePoint’s original cohort model and strategically devise ways to help even more students determine their best options and opportunities after high school.
Writing a dissertation is literally the most difficult, challenging, and time-consuming academic requirement both Master’s and PhD students face in their academic careers. Some of us have the time and resources to approach our dissertation as a passion project and complete it on time. The rest of us are not so lucky due to various reasons, starting from procrastinating and the need to read more before writing to outside responsibilities that make the completion of a dissertation daunting, and even close to impossible.
While research is not easy by any means and dissertations seem to actively resist your planning attempts, there is only one major thing that distinguishes a productive and effective researcher from one who misses their deadlines. And this thing is a mindset or, let us put it this way, a dissertation-finishing mindset.
Students with this kind of mindset take a pragmatic approach to writing a dissertation. You know the sort: those students who can abandon a line of inquiry without hesitation if it does not add value to their writing or is going somewhere unproductive. Their dissertations get approved because they strictly follow their university’s content, formatting, structure, and ethical requirements. No more and no less. A successful dissertation writer is not precious about their point of view or ‘voice’, which makes them effective. All that matters for these people is that the job must be done efficiently.
One might say that experience is the best teacher and the more you write academic papers, the more you become effective and efficient in doing it. However, how could you possibly plan and complete your dissertation on time if this is the first time you face such a huge task? Indeed, few of us as students write more than one dissertation. But let’s face it: writing a dissertation is not much different from writing your ordinary essay. Of course, a dissertation is a much more complex piece of research and academic writing but your academic career has been developing up to this particular point where you need to apply the skills and competencies you have been developing since your admission. Thus, it’s not something completely new, it’s just another level of complexity.
So what do you need to develop a dissertation-finishing mindset? Well, there are several tips we can give that will help you stop procrastinating and become a more effective and efficient writer.
Other people’s opinions can be unhelpful noise
If you want to finish your dissertation on time, you should make it a priority. However, some students’ definitions of priority may differ drastically. When we say your dissertation comes first, we mean above all commitments. Some people may be resistant to this idea and that is ok.
Your family members and friends might not get why you are so committed to your dissertation, so spending some time explaining your reasons might be a good idea to keep your relationships healthy. You should also take other people’s opinions about your study with caution. Sure, it is helpful to get some advice from recognised experts and supervisors on how to improve your thesis. However, all these people have their own pet methods and theories, so hearing how they would do it is largely pointless. Remember that they are not writing your dissertation – you are.
Finishing your dissertation ‘properly’ is a mirage
Dissertations, especially at a PhD level, open as many research issues and problems as they solve. That is why you should find a way to draw a narrow line between arriving at a useful and meaningful conclusion and a willingness to invest more resources in the study. The truth is that no dissertation is ‘complete’ in terms of its data-gathering exercise, meaning every academic study could benefit from more time, effort, and money. Developing the ability to identify this line, even if it is uncomfortable, is a useful skill that would help you become a more effective and efficient writer and complete your dissertation on time.
Do not see mistakes as a path to perfection
Making mistakes in research and academic writing is a reality we all have to bear with. Believe us when we tell you that literary every academic writer has had the experience of throwing out a piece of writing or a data set and starting all over again. One could argue that without mistakes it is impossible to learn how to become better. There is even a popular quote by Samuel Beckett who said “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”.
However, there is no point in spending too much time dwelling on your mistakes because you can end up thinking you are dumb and you will never get your dissertation done on time. Still, sometimes we can make the same mistake over and over again, and this is something you must deal with to become an efficient writer. To do that, you should identify what went wrong. Afterwards, do what you can to rectify your mistake and move on. If the same mistake happens again, think about how you could avoid it next time.
Take care of your health and wellbeing
Sure, your dissertation should take priority over many things if you want to complete it on time. However, one thing that is more important than your dissertation is your health because it will significantly affect your research and writing abilities. Do not forsake eating organic food, drinking plenty of fluids, and exercising to keep your body healthy and your mind active. Sleep well and give yourself some rest from time to time to avoid burnout, maintain a high level of motivation and engagement.
There is a myriad of circumstances that can hinder students’ ability to finish their dissertations on time. While we all have outside commitments and responsibilities, it is crucial to have the right mindset to complete your study according to the schedule. We believe that the tips outlined in this article can help you cross the dissertation finish line without flying past the deadline.
Author Bio: Anna is Marketing Manager for online essay writing service 15 Writers. She is an expert in digital marketing and enjoys writing articles on Business, Marketing and Technology.
Recent statistics on student stress are disheartening. Many catch our eye, but this is especially alarming: “39.1% of college students in the U.S. report feeling well-rested for only one or two days a week.” And 19.5% don’t feel rested at all.
There’s no way college students can be at their best, not getting adequate rest. And it’s no wonder academic fatigue and burnout are hitting them harder than ever. If we don’t address it now, the performance of college students will continue to diminish, and their futures will hang in limbo.
If you’re experiencing academic fatigue, stress, and burnout, these four tips can help you get to the other side.
Know When You’re Experiencing Burnout
University of the People defines academic burnout as “a negative emotional, physical and mental reaction to prolonged study that results in exhaustion, frustration, lack of motivation and reduced ability in school.”
Understanding the definition of general burnout is also critical. You don’t want to overlook a burnout diagnosis just because school isn’t what’s making you feel burnt out. The three criteria for a burnout diagnosis include:
Severe lack of energy and complete exhaustion
Feeling mentally distanced or increasingly negative about one’s job
Diminished effectiveness in one’s role
Whether you’re experiencing general burnout or its subset academic burnout, you need to be able to pinpoint when you’re experiencing it so that you can manage it. If you’re encountering any, all, or a combination of the below symptoms for a prolonged period, academic fatigue or burnout is likely the culprit:
Your creative spark is gone
Your attendance is suffering
Your body is simply exhausted
You can’t concentrate in class
You’re more irritable and frustrated
You’re missing deadlines more often
Sitting through a lecture is nearly impossible
You’ve lost confidence in the work you’re producing
There’s a spike in feelings of anxiety and/or depression
You’re no longer interested in participating in discussions and group projects
It’s important to note that burnout can overlap with other mental health conditions. For example, you could be losing your creative spark and energy because of depression. Or you could be more irritable, frustrated, and lack confidence because of an anxiety disorder.
With this in mind, separating burnout from other mental health challenges is vital to getting better.
Be Intentional When Choosing Classes and Your Schedule
College students are known to take on more than they should when choosing classes, whether to graduate earlier, have a better shot at an internship, or something else entirely. In addition, getting into specific courses can be so competitive that many students will take, say, the 7 a.m. class even though they know they aren’t morning people.
Taking too many classes and choosing the wrong times to take them can lead to high levels of stress that ultimately result in academic fatigue and burnout.
It’s much better for your health and educational success to be intentional when choosing classes and your schedule. Really take the time to select courses you’ll enjoy and engage in. Now, you won’t enjoy every class. So, supplement the ones you don’t care for but have to take with those you’re excited about.
And be sure to put together a schedule you can maintain. For example, don’t go for early morning classes if you know you do your best work in the afternoon and vice versa. Also, figure out the best way to spread courses throughout the week to ensure you’re accommodating how you learn, study, and live.
Grow Real Relationships With Your Professors
Good for you if you’re lucky enough never to experience academic fatigue and burnout. But for those that do, having good relationships with professors can help make the experience much more manageable.
You know those office hours your professor tells you about on the first day of class? Unfortunately, not nearly enough students use them to their advantage. But you should. Use office hours to develop genuine relationships with your professors.
Commit to getting together with your professors at least once a week. Not only can they help you with any challenges you’re having with coursework, but professors also encourage students to use office hours to talk about things other than school, burnout, and academic fatigue included.
When you have a strong relationship with your professors, you’ll be more inclined to be transparent about what you’re going through. And together, you can develop a plan to simplify school and life.
Put a Plan in Place for Recovery
You’re burnt out, and academic fatigue has gotten the best of you. What do you do? Well, first, don’t panic. Most students will experience burnout at some point. Already having a plan to recover from it will fast-track you getting back to yourself and your studies.
The first step is putting the books down and taking a break. Then, do something that you’re passionate about. And for the long term, focus on boosting your energy levels healthily. For instance, incorporate a self-care routine in your day. Drink more water than anything else. Cut down on your caffeine and alcohol consumption. Exercise regularly too.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to do, understand, and manage all that comes with college on your own. Burnout and academic fatigue will be right around the corner if you do.
Instead, lean on your relationships with your professors for support. Choose classes and schedules strategically. And finally, know the signs of burnout and put a plan in place to recover from it.
The college student’s life is one of the hustle and bustle. They’re juggling classes, homework, extracurricular activities, and maybe even a part-time job. With the high cost of tuition and the increasing price of college textbooks, any extra cash can be helpful. It makes sense why more and more college students are turning to online jobs to help make ends meet.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of online jobs for college students is the flexibility they offer. If you have a busy class schedule or need to take care of other obligations, you can often find online jobs that can be done on your own time. This means you won’t have to miss important class time or sacrifice your grades to hold down a job.
And let’s be honest, any job that allows you to work from your PJs is a win in our book. So if you’re thinking about taking the plunge into the world of online work, here are some of the best online jobs for college students and their average salaries for entry-level according to PayScale.
1. Freelance Writer
If you have a knack for writing, you can use your skills to earn some extra cash as a freelance writer. Many websites and online publications are always looking for fresh content, and as a college student, you’re in the perfect demographic.
It might take a little time to build up a portfolio, but once you do, you’ll be able to command higher rates for your services. Plus, writing can be a great way to escape from the stress of schoolwork. So if you’re seeking a fun and easy way to make some extra money, consider freelance writing.
Average Salary: $15 per hour
2. Social Media Manager
If you’re the type of person who spends hours scrolling through social media, this might be the job for you! As a social media manager, you’ll be responsible for creating and curating content and engaging with followers. In other words, you’ll get paid to do what you love!
It isn’t all fun and games, though. You’ll also need to be strategic in your approach and ensure that you’re creating content that resonates with your audience. It could be a video content idea, a blog post, or even just a simple tweet.
Average Salary: $15 per hour
3. Graphic Designer
Do you have an eye for design? If you’re creative and have a strong understanding of graphic design principles, you can make some serious dough as a freelance graphic designer.
Designers are in high demand these days, as businesses want to create a professional and stylish online presence. If you’ve got the skills, there’s no shortage of work in this career.
Average Salary: $15 per hour
4. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant is a sort of like an administrative assistant, but the work is done entirely online. As a virtual assistant, you might be responsible for tasks like scheduling appointments, managing emails, or even doing research.
Being a virtual assistant also requires a lot of self-discipline, as it can be tempting to spend all day watching TV or browsing the internet when you’re supposed to be working. But if you can stay focused, being a virtual assistant can be a great way to earn extra cash.
Average Salary: $15 per hour
5. Web Developer
If you’re tech-savvy and have experience with coding and web development, you can make a lot of money as a freelance web developer. There are a lot of student developers out there who are making good money coding and developing websites for companies and businesses.
Students usually have a natural affinity for computers and coding, so it’s really just a matter of turning that passion into a career.
Average Salary: $18 per hour
6. Online Tutor
What’s your favorite subject? If you’re good at math, science, English, or any other academic subjects, you can make some extra cash by tutoring students online.
Several websites connect tutors with students who need help, so all you need is a computer and an internet connection. And since you’ll be working from home, you can set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want.
Average Salary: $15 per hour
Are you good at spotting errors? Why not put those skills to use and earn some money as a proofreader?
As a proofreader, you would be responsible for reading through documents and correcting any errors you find. This could include anything from typos to grammatical mistakes to factual inaccuracies. Not only would you be able to flex your eagle eye, but you would also be paid for your work.
Average Salary: $16 per hour
Transcription might be the perfect job for you if you can type quickly and accurately. Transcriptionists are responsible for turning audio recordings into written documents. This could be anything from an interview to a podcast to a lecture.
I know that transcription might seem like a dry and tedious job. But trust me, it can be surprisingly satisfying (and even a little bit fun). And once you get the hang of it, you can transcribe audio files pretty quickly.
Average Salary: $15 per hour
9. SEO Specialist
SEO specialists are responsible for optimizing websites to rank as high as possible in search engine results. This involves keyword research, link building, and content optimization.
SEO is a very intuitive and easy-to-learn skill. All you need to get started with it are some basic knowledge of how Google works and a little time and patience.
Average Salary: $16 per hour
10. Film/Video Editor
With the rise of social media, there is a growing demand for engaging and visually appealing videos. As a video editor, you would be responsible for assembling raw footage and using video editing software to create finished products.
It’s a creative and challenging role that requires an eye for detail and a passion for story-telling. If you enjoy coming up with creative ways to tell stories, then a career in video editing could be the perfect fit for you.
Average Salary: $15 per hour
Working online is a great way to earn some extra cash as a student, but it’s important to make sure that you don’t let your schoolwork suffer as a result. There are a ton of great online jobs for students. It really just depends on what you’re interested in and what kind of commitment you’re willing to make.
So if you want to make some extra cash or even start a whole new career, definitely check out the options on this list.
On a random Tuesday night in September during our junior year of college, the TV in our apartment living room began to play the song, “Purity,” by A$AP Rocky. Sitting together under the dim purple glow of our LED lights, we shed a few tears as we reminisced on our college experience thus far.
“Wow,” Jenny said. “Remember when went to that frat for game day, and we took that sign they had in their bathroom?”
Looking at the sign hanging above our TV, Elizabeth replied, “How could I forget?”
“Having a ‘no dumping violators will be prosecuted’ sign in the bathroom was pretty clever on their part,” I said, laughing. “I wonder if they even noticed it was gone.”
“I think it looks better in our living room,” Elizabeth said.
“I can’t believe we ran all the way home with that sign,” Jenny said. “Especially because there were so many people on the sidewalk heading to the stadium for the game.”
“And we were running the opposite direction, straight through them,” Elizabeth replied.
We all laughed, tears of joy and nostalgia in our eyes.
“Honestly, I don’t even remember life without you guys by my side every day,” I said.
When we entered college in the fall of 2019, none of us knew what to expect; all we knew was we would be meeting for the first time.
The Roommate-Pairing Process
After I received my acceptance from the University of Florida in February 2019, my first concern was, “Who am I going to live with?” However, I grabbed the reigns on my brain and let myself marinate in the bliss I was feeling after getting accepted into a top public university before giving housing too much thought.
After a few weeks, my future-Gator friends told me to join the UF 2023 Facebook group where everyone was finding their roommates. I was hesitant. Posting a biography about myself in a Facebook group with thousands of unknown people did not sound appealing to me. Even still, I knew I had to suck it up and join because I had already decided I did not want to live with anyone from my high school. The Facebook group gave me the opportunity to choose a stranger to live with rather than having the university assign me one.
I knew finding a random roommate would force me out of comfort zone, and people had always told me that your college years are the prime time to find yourself and grow.
I wrote a biography about myself, added photos of myself and included my Instagram username for potential roommates to message me. Hiding my phone under my desk during my fifth period AP Calculus BC class, I hit the post button.
I talked to between 30 and 40 girls on Instagram over the next two weeks, and I ended up rooming with the very first girl who messaged me.
Jenny and I immediately hit it off. She was the most authentic and honest person I spoke with. The conversion began with the style of dorm we wanted to live in, which we fortunately agreed upon. We had an apartment-style dorm in mind because we wanted to avoid communal bathrooms at all costs.
After we settled on a dorm, we discovered just how similar we were. We discussed everything from our political views to hobbies. I was overcome with excitement when she sent me photos of her paintings; I bolted to my desk to find my sketchbook so I could send her photos of my drawings in return. I had no idea I would spend nights in my living room painting with this girl from Tennessee two years later.
Her music taste is what cemented my decision on living with her. Our love for music and shared taste in artists filled me with joy. We sent our favorite songs back and forth, and still share music with each other to this day.
We agreed it was a good idea to FaceTime before we fully committed to living with each other. When we hung up the phone after talking for two and a half hours (which was way longer than we expected), we both submitted our roommate preferences, excited and nervous about the future.
Because we were going to live in an apartment style dorm with two other girls, my soon-to-be-roommate found another girl online, Elizabeth, who is from New Jersey, to be another one of our roommates.
A Brief Summary of the First Two Years
Jenny, Elizabeth and I decided to live together sophomore year very early on, signing the lease for our future apartment two months into our freshman year. Our fourth roommate, who we also became very close with, had different living plans in mind, so the three of us toured our future home together shortly after signing the lease.
Throughout our first year living together, we had our fair share of issues, which we ironed out before the year ended. It was hard to adjust to our living environment because of how confined it was. There were only two bedrooms and one bathroom for the four of us, and small spaces become messy fast. When dishes were left in the sink or the trash was overflowing, we were all reluctant to bring it up. There were also a handful of miscommunications regarding having company over. However, we quickly realized communication is the most important factor of not just maintaining good roommate relationships, but good friendships.
We spent, and still spend, hours studying together but always find time to goof off. Freshman year, we had game nights with the other students living on our floor. Now, living in an apartment, we make friends with our neighbors. Our balcony overlooks an internal courtyard, and there is another section of apartments with balconies facing ours. Some nights, I lay in the hammock while Jenny and Elizabeth sit in the chairs, and we make conversations with other students on their balconies by shouting across the courtyard.
Freshman year, we grew the most as individuals. Jenny, Elizabeth and I became completely different – and better – versions of ourselves. We incorporated the best parts of each other into ourselves. Elizabeth’s put-yourself-first attitude and Jenny’s go-with-the-flow mindset have made me a stronger, more independent and confident person. Whenever I find myself settling for unfair treatment by others or becoming overwhelmed with stress about the future, I think about what they would do. Because of this, Jenny and Elizabeth will forever be a part of me. Without them, I would not be who I am today.
Sophomore year is the year we became a family. After moving out of our prison-like dorm and into an apartment where we have a real kitchen and our own bedrooms and bathrooms, we began to feel more at ease. The “no dumping violators will be prosecuted” sign above our TV, the bean bag chairs on the floor, the picture frames on the tables and the countless plants around our apartment created an environment best suited for us. However, it is our relationship with each other that makes it feel like home.
We have created a space that is safe enough to tell each other anything and everything. From the little things we see throughout our day, like the funny graphic tee our professor wore to class, to the more serious things, like our previously endured relationship trauma, nothing is off limits. I know Jenny and Elizabeth will be there for me when I need someone to lean on or lift me up, and they know I will do the same for them.
Our first two years consisted of a lot of learning, growing, studying and having fun, all of which we are still doing together.
My Advice to You
Have random roommates your freshman year
I recommend branching outside of your high school friend group when finding someone to live with. Most colleges have social media pages for incoming freshman where you can post a biography about yourself, like I did. When talking to potential roommates, discuss living habits (sleep schedules, cleanliness, etc.), interests and other topics that are important to you (political and religious views, etc.). Being authentic and transparent is key; your roommate will discover who you are while living with you, so it is best to lay most of it on the table before you meet. Even if it does not work out the way my situation did, having random roommates will force you out of your comfort zone. The only way you can grow is by being uncomfortable.
When it comes to disputes, be polite but completely transparent
My roommates and I learned that the best way to handle disputes is by simply communicating. Speaking in person is more effective than over text. While you may be a person who is reluctant to address things that bother you because you avoid conflict (like me), you must remember that your home is supposed to be your safe space. If your roommate does something that upsets you, you have the right to address it. As Elizabeth would say, you should be your first priority. However, remember to be polite and respectful while doing so.
Be responsible for your own things
When I moved into my dorm freshman year, I brought my own dishes, towels and cleaning products. My roommates and I buy our own groceries and cook our own meals, although sometimes we will have family dinners where we cook together. You can arrange who will bring the bigger appliances before moving in with your roommate. Jenny volunteered to bring a microwave and blender when we moved into our dorm freshman year. In the event that your roommate situation does not work out like mine, having your own things will prevent you from having to share things with a stranger.
Go out of your way to find fun things to do together
By this, I mean fun things other than partying so you can actually get to know your roommate. My roommates and I even make studying fun by doing it together. Going to school like UF in a town like Gainesville where there may not seem like much to do other than party forced us to search for fun things to do. We were surprised at just how much we found. Going to nature preserves, farmers markets, thrift stores and even walks on campus allowed us to explore our new home while bonding at the same time. My roommates and I have learned to make almost any situation fun, even the days we spend at home all day.
Remember to focus on yourself
As I said before, college is your time to grow as an individual, and I wish I learned that sooner. Surround yourself with people who will contribute to your happiness and aid your personal-growth journey. Also, be sure to make time to take care of yourself. College can be overwhelming, but self-care is just as important as your grades. On the opposite side, do not get too caught up in social obligations and partying. Finding a balance is a challenge, but you need to do what is best for yourself. Take time to explore new interests and truly discover who you are.
Where We are Now
I never thought my best friends would be a random girl from Tennessee and a random girl from New Jersey. Now, as a junior in college, Jenny and Elizabeth are not just my best friends, but my family.
I am closer with them than I have ever been with anyone else, and we are somehow still growing closer each day. The three of us have multiple classes together this semester, and we motivate each other to excel in our studies. We still make time to goof off together, just like we did freshman year.
Jenny recently brought her Wii (yes, the old school one) to our apartment, and we play Mario Kart and Just Dance to decompress after our eight-hour school days. We even hosted an exciting and nerve-wracking Mario Kart tournament with some of our neighbors we met from across the courtyard.
Despite spending an average of 10 waking-hours together, we are still not bored of each other. When we have time, we let our minds wander to our futures after college, like what it will be when we give speeches at each other’s weddings.
“Elizabeth,” I say, holding my water bottle in the air, pretending to give a toast at her wedding. “Remember the time we stole that sign from that frat house on game day?”
“The one that says, ‘no dumping violators will be prosecuted,’” Jenny adds.
“How could I forget?” Elizabeth replies.
On that random Tuesday night in September during our junior year of college as we sat under the dim purple glow of our LED lights, the TV whispered A$AP Rocky’s lyrics, “I gotta find peace of mind.” In that moment, we knew. Despite the chaos and confusion of college, we had found peace of mind – together.
College life is filled with study sessions, exams and textbook-filled nights. But college life also signifies independence. With this independence, many students indulge in nights out with friends, a few first dates, and most likely, sex. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to practice safe sex, it’s crucial to know exactly why you need to stay safe, what kinds of protections are available, and where to find them.
Awareness is key
Knowing why it’s so important to practice safe sex is the key to preventing negative consequences. Unless you abstain from sex, you risk contacting an STI, STD or becoming pregnant. Examples of STIs include gonorrhea, syphilis or HIV. An STD is an infection that became a permanent disease due to lack of treatment, like AIDS.
See a professional
Both women and men should see a doctor to get checked regularly for STIs. For women, it’s crucial to see a gynecologist after you become sexually active, so that they can perform a Pap Smear. Seeing a doctor regularly will help catch anything in time and keep a record of your health.
Using protection every time you engage in any sexual activity is vital to help prevent STIs or unplanned pregnancies. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed to communicate to sexual partners your choice to use protection. Explain to them that you would much rather feel comfortable and safe. Types of protection include condoms, birth control for women and dental dams for oral sex.
Where to find help
There are resources available for people who cannot afford birth control or regular doctor’s visits. Planned Parenthood, the nation-wide clinic, provides sexual health services like birth control options, free condoms and multiple gynecology services. Anyone can receive these services and if they cannot afford it, Planned Parenthood has financial assistance options. They will help you find a way to receive the services you need.
There are also new ways to order birth control without having to go see a doctor. There are multiple apps, like NURX, available that allow you to purchase birth control and have it delivered. They will match you with the right kind and type. You can also order birth control at Planned Parenthood’s website after you see them for your first consultation.
Staying healthy and enjoying yourself while feeling comfortable is important when engaging in sexual activities. Don’t be afraid to voice your decision to use protection to a sexual partner. Explain what using protection prevents and why you’d feel more comfortable using it.
There is a wide range of college sports on offer at colleges all over the country, taking part in them is a great way to make friends while keeping fit and healthy in the process.
Opportunities to take up sports at college are plentiful and the US boasts some world-class sporting institutions. In fact, college is often the first stage on the career path of an elite athlete.
Read on to discover the benefits of playing sports at college and how to get involved.
Healthy body, healthy mind
A healthy body can lead to a healthy mind, helping you write essays without procrastinating. And the best way to achieve a healthy body is to take up a sport. Therefore, sports can help your academic performance.
Research published in the International Journal of the History of Sport found that juggling a sporting career with academic studies provides motivation for training and preparation, stimulating athletes intellectually and relieving stress.
But being active and playing sports at college won’t only have a positive impact academically; it will do wonders for your social life, too, because being part of a sports club at college will give you social skills and confidence.
Sports and social life
Sports teams and clubs at colleges often hold weekly social events where you can meet like-minded people and swap stories from the sports field. When you are part of team or club, you feel a sense of inclusion and belonging, which can really boost your self-esteem.
Once you join a sports club at college, you won’t look back. You will cherish the memories you create with your new teammates for the rest of your life. Plus, developing relationships with your teammates presents interesting networking opportunities. When you inevitably attend college reunions later in life, you will always have a good talking point to rekindle old friendships.
Employers like athletes
The skills gained from playing college sports—such as learning to focus, being part of a team and thinking on your feet—not only boost your academic performance but can also help you realise your career aspirations.
Employers look for people with the traits of an athlete: determination, drive and dedication—to name a few. For this reason, playing sports at college could help shape you into a more desirable candidate further down the line.
Always have the next step in mind. After all, you are only at college a limited length of time.
The variety of college sports
Most people imagine a roaring crowd at a football stadium when they picture college sports, but that’s only part of the story. College sports are diverse and cater for all ability levels, so don’t be put off!
Sports you can take up at college include bowling, golf, wrestling, tennis, swimming and even Frisbee. Each college is different, so be sure to check with yours, but all colleges are inclusive and encourage everyone to take part.
College sports: Key facts
Here are the main things you need to know about college sports:
Through various sports associations, colleges offer students the chance to compete at the varsity level
Some varsity athletes are eligible for sports scholarships
Varsity athletes must meet academic targets and requirements to retain their scholarships
Every student can take part in college sports—thanks to clubs and intramural leagues
All college athletes need strong time management skills to juggle classes and homework with practice and games
What is varsity?
In general, college varsity sports teams:
Represent their college
Play against teams from other colleges
Receive some funding from their athletic department
Several associations oversee varsity-level competition in various sports for men and women at different colleges. Among others, these include the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
The NCAA is the largest and most recognised college sports association. When you watch college sports on TV, you’re usually watching NCAA athletes.
Club and intramural sports
Students who don’t make the varsity teams at college, or those who don’t want the high-intensity of varsity-level, can join clubs and intramural leagues. As a result, millions of college students take part in these teams each year as a way to stay fit and have fun.
Run by students, club teams compete against other club teams from different colleges. Students organise everything themselves from booking fixtures to arranging transport and getting uniforms. Teams can be involved in a regional conference and play for a national championship.
The college sets up intramural leagues to give all students a chance to participate. Teams from the same college play each other.
The range of activities is diverse. You can take part in traditional sports, such as basketball, soccer and softball, but you can also try more unconventional sports like inner-tube water polo, dodgeball and video games.