College & Stress

College & Stress

 

As an only child and the oldest cousin, I was the first to go to college. My mother stayed home and went to college and my father only went away to college for a short time. I didn’t really have anyone to give me any real advice on how to handle a lot of stuff.

So when things got difficult, I had trouble managing. I didn’t really know what exactly to do.

At one point there was just so much going on in my life. Classes were getting harder, my relationship with my boyfriend was on the fritz for like the umpteenth time. My grandmother, which I was very close to underwent heart surgery and didn’t ever recover. On top of that, things at home weren’t great either.

Plus, it was college and like I mentioned in my previous post, “College 101: Making It On Nothing” money was tight. I was a broke college student, who didn’t have much cash to work with and tuition, gas money, food, etc. was a constant worry.

To put it lightly, I was overwhelmed!

School is hard! There’s no argument there.

Be very careful with stress during these times. In college, there is a ton of easy access to drugs and alcohol. It may seem like a simple solution at the time. However, we know what adverse affect this can have on your body and your life. It’s dangerous!

Plus, it’s only a temporary fix.

I’m not sure about you, but when I’m overwhelmed all I want to do is find a way to relieve my stress. Back when I was in I was partying was my solution was drinking and smoking. Partying and drinking was a easy way to forget all of my problems. Was it the best solution? Absolutely not! (Disclaimer: Hangovers SUCK!!! Hugging a toilet and making your friends bathroom, your room for the night is NOT cute!)

Here are some alternative ways to handle college and stress:

Sometimes going home for a weekend to clear your head can help. Being around family, people who genuinely care about your well being.

Find somewhere to just go and chill and meditate. Quiet, is hard to find on a college campus. You may live in a noisy dorm or apartment where your roommate(s) are always there. Even sometimes the library can be noisy. If you can find sometime to yourself to gather your thoughts. Do it. Maybe even a local coffee shop in town? Because who doesn’t love coffee or a hot cup of cocoa in the cooler temps?

Pray. I realize everyone isn’t spiritual or religious. But, I sure wish I would have talked to God a lot more in college. I usually only talked to him when I was in trouble, to very frank. Prayer in many different religions is the center. If this is something you do, do more of it!

Keep a journal. Even in college, while I was super busy and really didn’t want to write by hand because I had been doing it all day in class taking notes…I used to keep a little journal. I still have it to this day. It really only has a few pages with a sentence or a small paragraph of writing of my feelings, but it was helpful. Even just jotting down something small as to how your feeling can be a way to blow off some steam. I believe journaling can be very therapeutic!

Talk to someone. If at all possible talk to someone outside of your circle. If you feel like you need help, it’s there. Don’t be ashamed! Many universities have counselors on campus, who are willing and waiting to listen and try to offer some solutions.

Lastly, I want you to remember that this thing with studying and all the other pressures of college are temporary! Try to focus on the big picture, which is graduating and getting that degree girl!!!

If you’re in college currently, away or at home. How do you manage stress?

Comment below!

Until next time ladies…

-Nicole Alicia

Advertisements

College 101: Making It On Nothing

College 101- Making It On Nothing

Many think that if you’re going to College that some how your family is rich or well off.

For many students this maybe true.

For the rest of us, going to college is a true privilege. Maybe your family isn’t well off and you’re parent or parent(s) had to scrape together pennies, nickels and dimes to get you there.

Well if this sounds like you, this post is for you!

My family isn’t well off, either. My father was laid off from his job, when I was a Senior in High School which was a major blow to us financially. We made due and I did go away to College that Fall. But my mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather, auntie’s and uncle all worked together and made sure I got there and got what I needed.

I tell this back story to say I thought I knew how to survive on less prior to leaving home. But I really didn’t quite know how to survive on less until I went away to college and was “on my own”.

I’d like to share with you a few tips on how to make it on less in college

‘Cause let face it, college is expensive in itself, with tuition alone. But, living away from home can be even more of a journey financial and other wise for some us.

So…

Conserve, Conserve, Conserve! – At home mom probably bought enough paper towels, napkins, food, etc for the household for the month right? Right! Mom and Dad hopefully set you up with enough stuff until the next time you come home for break (Thanksgiving probably for many of you). Try and make it last! The less you have to buy of minor little items, the more money you keep in your pocket (The less you have to call mom or dad for money. Trust me they do get tired of it.) If you have a job or unlimited access to funds again this article probably isn’t for you!

Dollar Tree,Walmart or Target is your Best friend! – I think there’s one of these almost in any city. Shop wisely! If you buy stuff, think about it before you purchase. Ask yourself if you really need the brand name of something or could you save by getting the off brand of something. Be a smart shopper! Dollar Tree is great for body wash, paper items and little things that you may run out of also.

Learn To Budget…NOW!– I was horrible at it. I had a job every year from Sophomore year on. I was responsible for my cell phone bill, car insurance and gas. Even though I was on the work study program, it still was a paycheck. I only got paid monthly! Yes every 30 days! It was rough. My parents would send me what they could as well as aunts and uncles but I mean I would blow it…fast! Sadly this transferred into my adult life. It’s better under control now since I am an entrepreneur and was forced to learn how. But I look back and wish I would have learned how to budget better. It’s important to learn it before you get into the “Real World“.

Sharing is caring!– When I was in college, often times my roommates or friends and I would go in together to get food after the party. If someone wanted to get a Pizza we all chipped in. It was fun! It often brought us together and those were great times! If you all want to carpool to a game at another school, why not all chip in on gas? Those are times I really miss!

College is hard.

Not having a lot to work with can be harder.

It’s not impossible! You can do it! Enjoy these times of roughing it…it gets better!

-Nicole Alicia

College 101: Time Management Tips

College 101- Time Management Tips

When my main character Melody Thomas from my debut novel “Drama University” was in College in the early 2000’s, there weren’t any iPhones or Google Calendars to keep track of all of her assignments and social events. She just used her good ‘ol student planner like she always had. Many people still use a paper planner. I know I prefer to!

Now days there’s so many choices to uses to stay organized. But this isn’t even about staying organized. It’s about being on your own for the first time in you life.

There’s no one to tell you when to wake up, when to eat breakfast, when to go home it’s all up to you (unless you have a dorm curfew, which I suggest you abide by).

College is a great experience! Enjoy it, savor it! I loved my college experience for the most part. I am a very disciplined person, but I still had to reign myself in and know when it was time to study and such.

I loved to party and enjoy myself like everyone else but I also knew and kept in the back of my head that there was a specific reason… to get that degree!

So with that being said here are a few Time Management Tips for you that helped me tremendously in school:

College Can Be A lot Harder Than High School! Do NOT say I’ll do it later too many times. It will turn into a bad habit. You’ll likely forget about that assignment that’s due or Quiz you have Monday in Econ class. Plan ahead and accordingly when possible. Always try to have your assignments done ahead of time so that you can go have a good time guilt free!

Distractions Will Kill Your Study Time! There are a ton of distractions in college. Especially if you live in the dorms or on campus! I liked to study in the comfort of my own room, but sometimes that wasn’t possible. I had loud suite mates and some roommates who preferred to have their music on while I preferred quite to study. It’s just hard sometimes to find somewhere good to study! If it’s not your environment, sometimes it’s your phone that keeps going off with alerts (Silence that sucker and hide it in your bag or away from where you can grab it easily to check it). Whatever you do, try to find a comfortable spot that fits your study style whether it be the quiet of the library or a student lounge area. Get somewhere where you can concentrate and get ‘er done!

If You’re Late All The Time This Is For You! In college, often times I found myself constantly rushing here and rushing there. Sometimes it was my fault, sometimes it was because I had things to go to back to back and couldn’t help it. But often times it was my fault. I rushed everywhere! I rushed to work, I rushed to get to class, I rushed to get to Dinner in the Cafeteria. You get the point. I just was pretty horrible about keeping track of time. Say if class is at 9 am, I would often wake up at 8:45 am and expect to get to class on time walking from the furthest end of campus. Instead of waking up a bit earlier, so I could get breakfast and get to class on time and not have to run I chose to sit in class. What often happened is I would forget something. A book, my phone, my notebook for that class. It was horrible. I didn’t learn until about senior year when I had to be at work at 8 am in the morning and had class all day I better have everything I needed for the day because ain’t nobody got time to run all the way back to my apartment to get what I forgot I needed.

I hope some of these little tidbits help!

Until next time…

-Nicole Alicia

 

College 101: Advice From A College Grad

College 101- Advice From A College Grad

Every time back-to-school rolls around, I get a bit nostalgic about my school days. (I know most of you are a few weeks into the semester now.)

As a graduate of MWSU, I can honestly say that College was one of the best times of my life.

Going away from your home to attend school is fun, it’s scary and exciting. Most of you are away from your parents, your siblings, familiarity, living on your own in another strange city. Whether you’re just 45 minutes away from home like I was, or hundreds of miles, it’s away.

College, literally is “A Different World”!

It is a time to get out from under your parents wings and spread your own beautiful wings! At times you may be doubtful of your own abilities, but just remember, “You got this”!

Here are a few things that I thought I’d warn you about, that you may or may not know:

Cafeteria food sucks after awhile, but you’ll get creative! We had a food court and a cafeteria when I was on campus. I’m sure you guys do to. I know I got really tired of the cafeteria and the food court and started cooking in my room. I know you’ll have a microwave. At the end of 4 years, you’ll be amazed at how much you can cook in the microwave. I hope you’re mom hooks you up with some good home cooked meals from time to time like my mom did!

Try to be nice to your roommate, it pays! I had some nightmare College roommate experiences. I am surely praying for you! If it’s a situation you just can’t deal with feel free to talk to your Resident Assistant, they should be able to help! Try not to be rude or mean to each other. A semester is August through December and that’s a long time. Be prepared for bumps in the road. Try to work it out, but if necessary move.

Party, Party, Party!  Partying! I loved to do it! (Still do from time to time) Did I get drunk? Yes. Did I regret it the next morning…OH YES!!! Hangovers suck majorly, but here’s a tip (Gatorade & Aleve) works wonders! Be aware of your limits and always always be safe and have a DD. Look out for one another! (P.S.This is not an encouragement to go out and do these things, just an I know what goes on.)

School is Work! Treat school like a job! Be on time and be prepared. Some classes may be difficult, but don’t sit there and flunk! If it’s the professor you can’t understand after going to 3 periods, drop the class and see if you can take with someone else. If you don’t understand or need clarification ask for help! Most professors have office hours and I’m sure they have on-campus tutoring.

Campus Activities! Oh yeah, get involved on campus! I promise your College experience will be so much more well-rounded and shhhh don’t tell anyone, I said this but it looks really good on your Resume’ also! I didn’t get to pledge the sorority I wanted because the Chapter got suspended, I regret not being able to establish those life long bonds that some of my friends have and connections!

Relationships! Where do I start here…Don’t get in to deep! At 18, 19, 20, 21 you have a lot to learn about the L word and I’m hoping you are aware of the difference between love and lust. You’re a beautiful young lady and I’m sure a lot guys will see that also!

PRAY…A lot! Try and stay in your word! God is with you every step, I’m sure you know! College is hard! It’s a lot going on. Remember to pray often and stay in your word!!!
Lastly, remember what you’re there for…a DegreeEnjoy this time in your life! seriously you’ll never get it back!!!

I’m SUPER excited for you, girl! I know you’re going to do great things!

It’s alot to manage, I do remember.

Time management is key in College! I’ll post on that subject next week.

-Nicole Alicia

College 101: Caring For Yourself While Sick Away At School

College 101- Caring For Yourself While Sick Away At School

Since most schools are just now getting into the first semester, I thought this would be a handy post to make.

The first time I got sick and I was away at College, it was my second semester of freshman year. It was probably the 2nd week back at school from semester break. I had started this new job on campus and everything seemed to be going along fine. Walking back to the dorms after class, I realized I didn’t quite have an appetite and felt a bit more drained than normal.

My boyfriend at the time had decided to take an internship in Florida and had left the previous week. He was usually my ride everywhere, since I didn’t have my own car. I only had a few friends on campus with a car at the time.

As I hopped into bed after taking a hot shower, I noticed that I  had went from hot to now freezing cold in a mater of two seconds. That’s when I knew, I was coming down with something.

I called my mom and explained my symptoms. She quickly told me to get out that thermometer she had packed in the little first aid kit she made up for me. My mom made sure I had a few things for when I was sick like a thermometer, Tylenol etc. I took my temp and sure enough, I had a fever that was 101.

At home when you’re sick, you’re probably used to mom making you chicken noodle soup, checking your temp and wiping your head with a cool cloth. When you’re away at school 98% of the time you have no one to do this for you.

I felt so terrible!

My roommate was kind enough to go to the store for me and pick up some Sprite and soup for me which helped tremendously. Even if I would have had a car, I felt so horrible I don’t think I would have made it to the store.

Long story short, I wasn’t able to really keep anything down for almost 3 days. Yes! I missed class for 3 days and work.

It’s a different experience when you’re miles away from home and having to care for yourself, while sick for the first time so here’s some tips that will help:

Clear Liquids! Make sure you keep  a bottle of Sprite or Sierra mist on hand. It may be hard to stash in your fridge, but maybe stash it under your bed or in your closet. Place it somewhere someone else or yourself wont drink it. Remember to drink plenty of fluids, if possible. It will not only help the bug to pass, it will make sure you stay hydrated especially if your having trouble keeping things down.

Have Soup! There’s a running joke about college students and Ramen noodles, I know. Take it easy on your stomach though. Try to always have some light soup on hand like Chicken Noodle. Not only is it a warm snack to have on those cold night, your stomach will thank you!

Kleenex! There’s nothing worse than being sick and having to use that rough 1-ply toilet tissue the campus has, then ending up with a raw nose from blowing it so much

Try to conserve your energy! If you can have your professor send you the notes from class you missed or hookup with a classmate do it! You don’t want to get behind in your school work. Don’t go to class sick unless you absolutely have to…trust me your body and everyone else will thank you on this one!

Netflix it up! Have a movie marathon! Rest as much as possible. Your body’s fighting something and needs energy to do so. If you try to do too much too soon you’ll end up making yourself worse.

Go see a doctor! I know, I know you’re saying a doctor? I don’t have money for that. Many campus’s have a clinic or somewhere you can go in the city or town you live in. If symptoms last too long, go seek medical attention. Many cities have CVS or Walgreen’s that have clinics. Remember they can always bill you.

Last, but not least…

Disinfectant! Be nice to your roommate. Lysol after yourself. Get you a canister of those disinfectant wipes. You live in such tight quarters and I’m sure your roommate doesn’t want want you have or just had.

Hopefully this helps a bit…

You can’t fly or drive back home every time you get sick right? Mom isn’t there to take care of you and you have class and probably work you have to get back to.

Be prepared as cooler temps start hitting and cold/flu season approaches. Nothing’s worse than being sick and not having the stuff to help yourself get better.

-Nicole Alicia