Category Archives: Preparation

20 Things To Do The Summer Before College

The summer between high school and college is an exciting time. You’re officially grown up and you’ll soon be off to college, with new people and (in most cases) in a new town.

Needless to say, you want to make the most of this summer of freedom, now that you’ve graduated high school. However, there are 20 things you should do during that summer before college.

1.) Familiarise yourself with the town and college

Chances are, you’ll be moving away from home and the first few days can be overwhelming when you try to take everything in. If you can, visit your future home. Check out where you will be living and what sort of shops and conveniences are within walking distance. Where can you get the bus? Where is the good but cheap coffee (this is important)? Sign up for a library card while you’re there, and get reward cards from shops you’ll likely be using (grocery stores, stationery supplies etc.). If you know your address (in case you’re living off-campus) walk from there to the campus and measure how long it takes. If possible, get a map of the campus and familiarise yourself with the layout in order to avoid getting lost and being late for your first classes. And beat the rush of fresher’s week / orientation and find yourself a doctor / GP / dentist etc. early – especially in the UK they may not take new patients in after the first few weeks as there’ll be a rush for the available spaces with thousands of new students arriving at the same time.

2.) Write and print your CV

A CV for a student job does not have to be fancy or colourful.
A CV for a student job does not have to be fancy or colourful.

Write a professional looking CV, print it out a few times and also take a digital copy with you. You’ll likely apply for student jobs or work experience at some point, so on your town familiarisation (see above) check who’s looking to hire students or part-time staff and hand in your CV. That way you may already have extra income lined up when you start. If you can’t do this beforehand, hit the town on your first or second day and leave your CV with businesses that are hiring. You’ll have the time advantage over those still needing to write and print their CVs when they arrive.

3.) Invest in business attire

You’re not in high school anymore and your clothes should reflect that. That does not mean that you need a whole new wardrobe, but invest in a few nicer tops and trousers. Men, if you don’t have one yet, buy a suit, dress shoes and a tie. Women, invest in dress pants, blouses, a blazer and a nice (and comfortable) pair of pumps (or shoes fit for a business environment). You will probably apply for a part-time job or work experience at some point while you are at university/college, so make a great first impression by dressing accordingly. Mix & Match with your usual wardrobe plus accessories can work wonders as well. Hint: try jeans, T-shirt/blouse and blazer for a smart casual / business casual look you can pull off every day.

4.) Get a haircut

Try a new hairstyle for a new chapter of your life.
Try a new hairstyle for a new chapter of your life.

Going away to college is a chance to present a new, grown up You to the world. Go to your trusted hairdresser / barber. Even if you just get a trim or renew your highlights, it may be a while before you’ve found a hairdresser in your college town who you trust to get it right. A new hairstyle can be confidence boosting, just make sure you ask the hairdresser for tips on how to best style your hair in a hurry or what products you should / could use.

5.) Learn to do laundry

Laundry / Care tag with icons and explanation
Laundry / Care tag with icons and explanation

If you move away for college (especially when you move too far away for weekend visits home) you need to learn how to do your own laundry (if you don’t know this already). Memorise what the symbols mean and which clothes to wash with what detergent and temperature. Go through your wardrobe and look at the things you want to take with you: how easy are they to keep clean? Except for suits/coats etc. try and stay away from dry-clean only items as those bills can soon add up. Likewise, you need to know exactly which items are handwash only and which ones can’t go in a tumble dryer, so you don’t ruin your favourite clothes. Also, learn how to iron your clothes.

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Study Tip: The Cornell Method of note-taking

Taking notes is part of every day life as a student, whether we’re in high school, college, grad school or elsewhere.

So why is effective note-taking not taught properly? And why did I go until grad school to learn about The Cornell Method?

It makes so much sense!

Cornell Method Note

Study Tip: How to pull an effective all-nighter

I feel like this is information EVERY student needs to know because whether you’re in high school, college or grad school, you might have to put in an all-night cramming session now and then.

This should help you get through it.

The original source was lost when I found this, but as it mentions Penn State undergraduates, I’m assuming this originated there.

Pull an all-nighter

Study Tip: Colour-code your notes

When highlighting passages in your textbooks, print-outs and study notes, it does help to have a consistent colour system.

You obviously have to make it relevant to your field of study. For example, lawyers are apparently taught to colour-code  using red highlighters for the holdings of a case, green for general law, yellow for facts etc.

A medical student might colour-code Latin terms, diagnoses, procedures etc.

This is my system:

Colour-code your notes
Colour-code your notes

The trick is not to go overboard with the colours. Only highlight what is necessary, because a completely colourful text will end up confusing you.

 

If We Were Having Coffee… On January 24

Hello! Nice to see you!

Come on, sit down, and warm up. It’s snowing outside and everything’s gone quiet. My entire garden is covered with a white blanket and it looks so serene. I’ll get you a nice hot cup of coffee/tea/cocoa/mulled wine to warm your hands up, and I’ve got blankets should you still feel cold.

I’m glad you could take the time for a Weekend Coffee Share!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you about my studies and that it’s going well, though not as smoothly as I’d like. I’d show you my new binder and the steps I’ve taken to organise my study material. That would also explain all the highlighters, post-its, tabs and  paperclips around my living room.

Weekend Coffee Share

Continue reading If We Were Having Coffee… On January 24

If We Were Having Coffee… On January 17

If we were having coffee today we’d probably meet at my place. You’d be greeted by organised chaos in the living room, as that’s where my desk lives, and all my study materials and writing notebooks are spread out on it.

I’d ask you to hang up your coat, but you can leave your shoes on. I’m really not picky about that. Make yourself at home on the sofa, I’ll be just a minute – the kettle’s just boiled, perfect timing as usual!

You’d have a choice of strong filter coffee (a Guatemalan blend I’m quite fond of), Instant Coffee (which I got so used to on my travels that proper coffee tasted weird at first) and about 15 different teas ranging from Yorkshire Tea and Twinings Afternoon Tea to Maracuja, Apple and Camomile.

Continue reading If We Were Having Coffee… On January 17