The start of a new semester is an exciting time, but the lull that comes after midterms is the opposite: homework is starting to pile up, it’s hard to feel energized, and finals are still in the distant future. There’s still so much school left! But don’t fear—there are ways to stay engaged, energized, and even excited about the weeks to come. Here’s 5 ways to stay focused for the rest of the semester:
1. Set small, acheivable goals
If the only goal you have this semester is to pass your classes, then you might have a hard time getting motivated. Why? Because finals are still far away. Instead, set smaller, more frequent goals. Like getting your homework done before the weekend starts! Setting goals like this gives you achievable benchmarks. Better yet, smaller goals means the task at hand never feels insurmountable.
2. Practice time-management
Everyone has a tired or lazy side, but don’t let it take control of your life! During the second half of the semester, it’s especially important to practice time-management, which will help you avoid spending too much time surfing the internet, watching TV, or playing video games. That isn’t to say you should avoid leisure activities. Instead, budget your fun the same way you budget your money. That way you’ll always have the time you need to sleep and study.
3. Get involved
Look for ways to spice up your academic calendar by joining a new club, practicing a new sport, going to the gym more often, or even finding social ways to study—book groups, for example. Otherwise, you risk falling into a boring routine of class and homework, which makes it difficult to get energized and work hard for the rest of the semester.
4. Go to class
It’s easy to preach, but harder to practice. Still, going to class is perhaps the single best way to stay engaged in your education. Do whatever it takes to get out of the bed in the morning: drink coffee, set an alarm, or even ask your roommate to wake you up.
5. Reward yourself
You’ve already made it halfway through the semester. That means there’s only half more to go before winter break! Step back, relax, and take a little time to celebrate how far you’ve come—whether that means taking a day off to hang out with friends or even just to sit on your couch and read a book of your own choosing. The point here is to let all the stress out of your body and have some fun. You can gear up and get back to work tomorrow.
Tuition, books, room and board, and life in general cost more than they should. But you work hard for your money, so don’t let the cost of college break the bank. All you need to do is become a savvy spender. Here are 5 ways to save money in college:
The best way to save money in college is to think about spending before you do it. Start by putting a limit on your monthly expenditures. Avoid exceeding that limit at all costs! To choose a number, consider the following: conservative estimates are better and no budget should exceed the income that funds it. In other words, don’t dip into your savings if you don’t have to.
2. Make use of your student ID.
You know what’s awesome about being a student? Student Discounts! You’d be surprised how often and how much you’ll save on food, entertainment, transportation, museums, and more. As a student, you even qualify for an International Student Identity Card, which can save you boatloads on travel! A rule of thumb to maximize your savings: every time you spend money, get in the habit of asking if there’s a student discount.
3. Buy in bulk.
Don’t resort to sample-sized bottles of toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, or food items that don’t spoil. Go big and save money. Better yet, go big during a sale and stock up when all your essentials are cheap. You’ll spend a bit more at the register, but over time you’ll save money.
4. Enjoy free fun.
Eating out at restaurants or going into the city can cost a pretty penny, so why not enjoy free campus activities instead? Most campuses host screenings, lectures, dances, parties, concerts, and more—all free of charge. Check your school’s events calendar for leads.
5. Use cash instead of credit.
The nice thing about cash is that you can’t spend more than you have. If you spend more than you have with a credit card, and don’t pay your bill at the end of the month, you’ll get stuck with late fees or interest payments. That’s wasted money! Plus, according to psychologists, people tend to spend less when they’re using cash. Apparently the physical act of handing someone money—and actually seeing your wallet get thinner—isn’t as enjoyable as you thought.
You already use your iPhone to call your parents, text your friends, and check your Facebook. Why not also use it to enjoy summer a little more? With these five iPhone apps it’s easy:
Tanner – This app is perfect for anyone looking to get some color this summer. It has a built in timer that will remind you when to flip over. It also has a sunblock timer that will remind you to reapply and protect your skin!
Yahoo Weather – Although the iPhone has a stock weather app, it’s missing a number of useful features. Check out Yahoo Weather for a more detailed forecast, including beautiful visuals that bring the weather to life.
Kayak – Thinking of traveling this summer? Kayak is the perfect way to quickly and easily compare hotels and flights.
Camera+ – This app has every camera feature the stock iPhone camera is missing! From deep editing tools to shooting features like burst and countdown timers, Camera + has all the functionality you didn’t even know you wanted on your iPhone camera.
QuizUp – Keep your brain sharp this summer with this popular and awesome quiz game. You can choose topics you excel in and even compete with your friends via Facebook!
One amazing feature of the Internet is the ability to anonymously leave feedback on products and services. While normally used to encourage or caution potential customers, many creative pundits have written satirical reviews full of biting sarcasm that are downright hilarious. Check out 7 of the funniest below:
1. Flappy Bird
Since the ridiculously challenging game “Flappy Bird” was released, it has gained something of a cult-like following. But the developer received so much abuse from customers that he eventually removed the game from every app store—meaning it’s no longer available to download. But this hilarious review was captured before the game was removed.
2. Banana Slicer
One would think something as simple as slicing a banana would not require more than a knife. But apparently there is a product for everything, and one reviewer decided to point out the humor in this with a sarcastic complaint.
3. Abraham Lincoln
You might not know that the Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC is where Abraham Lincoln was shot—which makes this Yelp review particularly biting.
4. Steering Wheel Laptop Stand
There are some products out there that are downright dangerous. A laptop stand that attaches to your steering wheel is one of them. This reviewer hit the nail on the head, pointing out exactly what is wrong with this product, while sarcastically praising it.
5. Car Wash
This reviewer made a negative car wash review into a perfect allusion to a TV show we all know and love. Give it a second to sink in.
6. Chinese Finger Traps
Some of the most hilarious reviews come about when people decide to create fictional experiences with the products they are reviewing. This person took something as simple as a Chinese finger trap and created a hilarious, albeit slightly disturbing story.
7. iPhone Mood Scanner
While many reviewers are sarcastic when reviewing ridiculous products, some are questionably serious. An iPhone app that reads your mood by placing your finger on the screen? No one could believe that, right? You’d be surprised.
Winter break is here, or almost here, the holidays are upon us, and the start of a new year is right around the corner. So much to celebrate! But remember: if you don’t have all the money you need for next semester’s tuition bill, now’s the perfect time to find it. Here’s how:
1. Compare your private student loan options. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it a million times. Lending rates and benefits change, so comparing your loan options every semester could save you thousands. It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s free.
2. Keep searching for scholarships. They’re available year-round. Now that you don’t have class to worry about, start worrying about your wallet and how to fill it with free money. Hit up your school’s financial aid office and our Scholarship Center.
3. Find seasonal work. Take advantage of the festive spirit by earning a little festive cash. Retail outlets hire tons of temporary workers for the holidays. Likewise, ice-skating rinks, ski resorts, and restaurants may pick up extra folks for the holiday season.
4. Apply for part-time jobs on campus. There’s usually job turnover at the end of each semester, so get your applications in before next semester starts. Try the library, the cafeteria, and even department offices, which may need assistants.