The Flip Side of Studying Abroad: What the Brochures Won’t Tell You

You’ve seen the brochures. You’ve obsessed over a frenemy’s Facebook pictures. Traveling to a foreign location is very well may be on everyone’s college bucket list. But there’s a lot more to studying abroad than fancy beach getaways and double-tap-worthy selfie opportunities. Here are some things to consider before diving into an international excursion:

You may not get along with all of the students on the trip. 
Depending on your program, you may be traveling and/or living with students who aren’t from your normal group of friends; they may not even be your age or from your school. While many students come back from study abroad trips with great new friendships, there’s a chance you won’t click with your group.

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July Playlist

After a much too long a hiatus from blogging, here’s a playlist of the music that I’ve been listening to the most this past month. It’s been strange, as the lazy summer vibe coincides with a stressful, busy, and productive semester at school. My music similarly seemed to alternate between carefree youthful summer anthems and heavier, more stoic tunes.

Track Listing:

  1. Elastic Heart (ft. the Weeknd & Diplo) – Sia
  2. Boom Clap – Charli XCX
  3. Global Concepts – Robert DeLong
  4. Don’t Wait – Mapei
  5. Pumpin Blood – NONONO
  6. Breezeblocks – alt-J
  7. I See Fire – Ed Sheeran
  8. The Wire – HAIM
  9. You & Me ft. Eliza Doolittle (Flume Remix) – Disclosure
  10. All About that Bass – Meghan Trainor
  11. Hurricane – Ms Mr
  12. Shower – Becky G
  13. Riptide – Vance Joy
  14. Cool Kids – Echosmith
  15. Dollhouse – Melanie Martinez

This is the way the semester ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.

The last few weeks have been crazy hectic. All of you incoming freshmen: know that IB exams, high school finals, and AP exams ain’t got nothin’ on college finals week — it’s pretty much the bottom of the trough in the college happiness index graph. But now, recuperated by a healthy diet of good nights’ sleep and multiple home cooked meals, I write to you my last post as a First-year honors blogger (*cries*).

College is a time of change, as written in every cliche college guidebook ever written. Here are a few of the changes I’ve observed in myself, from the major to the trivial.

I never thought I’d…

Regularly drink coffee. I was never a coffee drinker, and I still don’t consider myself dependent on the caffeine fix like a lot of my friends, but there is a strange comfort in drinking an over-sugared, over-creamed, iced mocha coffee when you’re plugging away at Study Edge videos at Library West. To incoming freshmen, I bequeath unto thee this sage advice: don’t waste your time or money with the $5 Starbucks like I did the entire first semester. The 3- to 6- pm Dunkin’ Donuts $0.99 happy hour is where it’s at.

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The 14 Stages of Pulling an All-Nighter, as Told by Game of Thrones

1. It’s 8 p.m., and your motivation is at its peak. You’re ready to beast-mode your way through this essay like it’s nobody’s business.

2. However, as time progresses with slow work output, you can feel your productivity level tanking and your motivation slipping.

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5 Benefits of Having Early classes

Maybe you were late for class registration; maybe it was the only section available; or maybe you actually made a conscious decision to schedule your classes earlier in the day. Whatever the reason may be, you’re stuck with early classes. There are going to be mornings when your alarm goes off and you can’t even fathom getting out of bed, but take a look on the bright side of things. Here are some of the benefits of being a morning lark to motivate you to get out of bed and embody the proverbial early bird:

1. Better grades in school
According to a 2008 study at a Texas University, students who identified themselves as a morning people received an average 3.5 GPA, which was a full point higher than the 2.5 GPA of their night owl counterparts. That’s a pretty stark difference for a study that surveyed more than 800 students! All of you collegiettes™ stuck with early labs and lectures can wake up each morning knowing that the chances for success in school are statistically in your favor.

2. Higher mental stability
According to a Harvard researcher in a 2010 study, morning people were described as more agreeable, optimistic, proactive, conscientious, and satisfied with life. Meanwhile, evening people were described as pessimistic, neurotic, and depressed. With the stress of classes, exams, work, and other obligations, all of us could use a little more optimism in our life!

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7 Keys to Happiness

We’re in for the long haul. With no days off from school until Spring Break, and colder, darker weather, it feels like vacation is eons away. Worse still, with the pressure of school, classes, and extracurricular activities increasing in intensity after the lull of winter break and syllabus week, how could the stress not get to you? The solution lies in the little things you can do throughout the day to help you get out of your lowest of lows. When you feel your worst, try out these simple tricks to get you out of the dreaded winter blues and on the path to positive vibes:

1. Exercise. Elle Woods said it best. Whether it’s a short burst of high-intensity cardio or a longer group fitness class,  any exercise releases endorphins. These are the “feel good” hormones that can result in a quick boost of mood and attitude along with the other benefits of exercise that are too numerous to count. Next time you’re feeling down, head to the gym for a rush of energy and confidence to get you through the day.

2. Talk to a close friend, or better yet, see one in person. If you find yourself feeling isolated because of work and stress, set aside a time to meet a friend for a meal or study break for a chance to laugh and catch up. It seems intuitive now, but many people feel like they have to face their problems alone. A friendly face outside of your regular schedule is a nice change of pace, and it can give you something to look forward to.

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5 Snacks to Keep in Your Dorm at All Times

Put down the Ben & Jerry’s, collegiettes™! Late-night studying can make you crave all things sugary, salty, and greasy. Keep these healthy alternatives on hand in case of emergency, and you’ll never be study-hungry again!

1. Frozen Bananas

Cheap, sweet, creamy, and convenient. Bananas are a fantastic alternative to ice cream. Cut up a couple, and throw them in your freezer. You’ll have a perfect snack that’ll save you a ton of calories (and guilt) the next morning. Eat with a bit of peanut butter or a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

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This post was a top chapter article on Her Campus, on Jan. 15, 2014!

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