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Sydney Nolan

More by Sydney Nolan

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Hook Up With Him

7/18/2014

We get it: it stinks to be in a boyfriend slump. You miss getting random texts during the day, having someone who looks at you differently than a friend would, and benefitting from a person in your life who means something special to you. Let’s be honest––if you’re stuck in a dry spell between relationships, like many collegiettes are at some point in their college career, a no-strings-attached hook-up can begin to be pretty tempting. Whether you’re hoping it could lead to a relationship or that it’ll just serve as something fun in the meantime before you meet Mr. Right, it’s easy to see the pros in casually hooking up with someone. What’s harder to see, however, are the reasons why a hook-up might not be such a great idea after all.

“Friends with benefits sounds like a foolproof plan. Any safe harbor in a storm, right?  You are feeling lonely [and] he is game for a go; why not?” Jodi R. R. Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Counseling, says.  “Why not indeed.  There are plenty of reasons to opt for a cold shower or battery-operated romance instead.” Before you dive headfirst into a hook-up, consider these 5 reasons why you should think twice.

1. You’re Close Friends

10 Questions to Ask Your Roommate Before Move-in Day

6/16/2014

Moving day can be summed up in three words: hectic, awkward, and exciting. You’ll definitely get your workout in for the day by carrying all of your awesome new dorm décor from your car to your new home away from home. You’ll also be bombarded with all kinds of information, and, in the span of only a few hours, meet tons of new people—one of whom will be your roommate. Get prepared for living with your new roomie by getting answers to some of these basic questions before stepping foot on campus or in the dorm.

1. What are you bringing for the room?

This is one of the most important questions to ask your roomie before you move in. You wouldn’t want to arrive on moving day to find out you and your roommate are now the proud owners of two microwaves and no mini fridge! Make sure to coordinate well in advance to make sure one of you isn’t stuck buying and bringing most of the big-ticket items like a fridge, microwave, TV, rug, or mirror, as well as double-check to make sure you won’t have duplicate items. This planning is super important, as many dorms restrict the number of large items you can keep in one room. Keep in mind that space will also be limited in the dorm, so you won’t want two fridges, even if there’s no official rule limiting the number of items per room.

2. Is anyone coming with to help you move in? What time will you be there?

5 Bad Habits You Picked Up In College & How To Kick Them

5/19/2014

We all have those little things we know we shouldn’t do, but can’t seem to give up or quit. Lucky for those of us who have adopted bad habits during our time in college, we’re certainly not alone. Check out some of the most common unhealthy habits you could develop as a collegiette, along with HC’s tips on how to break them!

1. The bad habit: Pulling all-nighters (or staying up until the early hours of the morning)

Sure, you may have gotten your assignment completed, but did you really do a good job on it? Are you really going to remember the notes you spent hours poring over? It’s no secret that going one or more nights in a row with little or no sleep doesn’t leave you at your best and brightest. Most of us find ourselves half-asleep in class, feel edgy or anxious and unable to react or respond to questions and conversations as quickly as usual. Our sleep-deprived selves are also more likely to make other not-so-smart decisions when it comes to what we eat, drink, and do throughout the rest of the day.

How to beat it:

Schedule, schedule, schedule! Setting an agenda for your work will help you prioritize and stay on track. Start your day (or week, if you’re super organized!) mapping out what needs to get done. You can try organizing your time into blocks, or making lists of priorities – what needs to get done, what you’d like to accomplish but don’t absolutely need to finish, and what you can put off until later. Don’t forget to include things like meetings, classes, and activities into your schedule as well.

The Dos & Don’ts of Senior Skip Day

4/30/2014

Let’s play a quick game of “Would you rather?” Which sounds better – a day filled with seven or eight periods of sitting in class staring out the window at the gorgeous spring day, or a morning spent sleeping in followed by an afternoon out with friends? It’s pretty much a no-brainer we’d all pick the latter. Many high school seniors around the country do in fact pick the sleeping in and hanging with friends option in the form of “Senior Skip Days” every spring. This decision isn’t always as easy as it seems, however. Whether or not your school officially sanctions a Skip Day, be sure to follow these dos and don’ts for a successful skip! 

DON’T jeopardize your relationships with teachers. 

Even if Skip Day is a well-known activity for seniors to participate in, make sure you won’t be risking ruining a relationship with a favorite teacher, or one who helped you out a ton during the college search and application process. Obviously most teachers would rather have you in class than miss a day towards the end of the year, even if it’s an event a ton of seniors participate in. It’s also not totally unheard of for teachers to get back in touch with a school if they think what they wrote in a recommendation or supplemental material for an application no longer stands based on your participation in things like Skip Day. Some teachers have also altered grades for students not in class on Skip Day, which can be a huge deal if you’re on a college waitlist or are on the borderline in terms of final semester grades that will be reported to the college you’ve settled on. 

DO double-check deadlines and test dates. 

9 Study Hacks for Your Easiest Test Prep Yet

4/28/2014

There’s a saying that floats around the Internet around midterms and finals every year: studying = students + dying. This definitely doesn’t need to be the case come any big exam, paper, project or major assignment, however! Regardless of your campus’s geek factor, you can still mix things up next time your studying takes a turn for the worse with one of the following “study hacks.”

1. Get colorful

There are lots of ways to work that right brain of yours when it comes to studying. To start, think about taking notes (or rewriting ones you hastily scribbled down during a lecture) in different colors. Use different colored pens to highlight or write different parts of your notes. For example, use one color for original material, another one for references to a textbook or other physical materials used in the class and another one for possible exam or test material hinted at during a lecture. Many studies have also shown that color can have a significant effect on your mood. Changing from a boring black pen to brighter, more interesting colors can turn studying into a way more positive experience. 

There are other ways to get creative while studying and prepping for projects and exams as well. Think about integrating a visual or two into your notes when studying, or add some visual flair to a project or presentation you’re prepping for, like a picture or two, a diagram, a chart or table, a graph or something else that catches the eye. Switching from poring over notes and reading lots and lots of text to thinking visually could be just the break you need. Get those creative juices flowing, and inspiration is sure to follow!

10 Ways to Reduce Stress & Stay Motivated

4/10/2014

After spring break, summer feels so close, you can practically taste it! Too bad there are still a lot of important things left to do before the semester finishes. Whether you’re stressed about a big paper or exam standing between you and three months of freedom or you’re just having trouble focusing in general, check out some of the suggestions below to combat stress and study frustration the healthy way, no caffeine or all-nighters required!

1. Get outdoors

Don’t fight the elements – take advantage of them! When temperatures start to rise and it’s absolutely gorgeous out, move your study space outdoors.

Alexandra Churchill, a collegiette from the University of New Hampshire, says, “It helps me to take my books outside! If you can bring your work out into the open sunlight with you, you can't easily say that you didn't get to enjoy the weather!”

According to a study published on the Livestrong site, exposure to sun can increase levels of melatonin, a chemical in your brain that plays an important role in keeping serotonin, another brain chemical in check. According to the study, increased levels of serotonin can boost your mood and increase happiness!

Find a comfy spot where you can enjoy the nice weather and then hit the books. Rather than moping indoors, multi-task and enjoy beautiful temperatures while keeping your grades up.

2. Keep eating healthy

3 Easy Steps to Deal With a Bad Grade

2/21/2014

Yikes! You just got back that history test you spent all last week cramming for, and your grade is NOT what you expected – not even close. How’s a pre-collegiette supposed to keep her parents from freaking, prevent her grades from tanking for the semester, and manage all the other stresses in her life? Try managing your next grade freak-out with these three easy steps guaranteed to help you deal with and move on from any grade shocker.

First, don’t panic. Stop and think about what you’ve just received.

It’s super, super hard, but in order to handle a grade you’re not so happy with, it’s important to step away from the situation for a while. “When I get a bad grade, I quickly look at the grade and then put the assignment away. Reading through the red marks on my paper only makes me feel worse, so I save that for later when I recover from that heart-dropping feeling of seeing my grade,” says Julia, who recently graduated from HP Baldwin High School. Anywhere from ten minutes to a day or two works as a cooling off period depending on how you feel about handling the situation. Emotions in check? Go for it. Still steaming? Probably better to wait at least a period or two. (Of course, the exception to this comes when then end of the semester is looming and you need to deal with things ASAP to make sure grades are correct on a transcript or report card.)

Dropping Out of a Sorority: The Pros & Cons

1/18/2014

A sorority sounded like a great idea when you were a freshman—you were promised a group of girls who would clue you into campus and love and support you like a sister, hooking you up with great information about where to go, where to find great dates, how to participate in awesome campus traditions, and providing you with tons of other benefits. By sophomore, junior, or senior year, however, sorority life can start seeming a little less great. If you’re no longer feeling the “Alpha Phi love” or “Phi Beta warm-fuzzies,” check out some of the pros and cons of disaffiliating from or leaving your sorority.

Pro: You’ll have more flexibility.

Think about a typical week’s worth of sorority activities. Now think about what your schedule would look like without weekly chapter meetings, charity events, dinner hours, study sessions, and weekend events. Disaffiliating from your sorority could lead to more free time to spend on new things, such as participating in other clubs and activities, volunteering on your own, spending more time hitting the books, hitting the gym, or simply allowing you to have a little more “me time.” Now that you’ve been in school for a while, you also no longer need the plus of having tons of girls around to show you the ins and outs of campus and nightlife in your college town. In fact, you might even have more fun exploring different things in and around campus on your own instead of with a huge group of sisters.

Having more free time could be a huge pro, especially if you’re looking to bring your grades up, devote more time to another organization, nab a killer internship to boost your resume, or develop other skills and talents outside of your sorority commitments.

How to Ask for Feedback After You Didn’t Get the Job

1/3/2014

It can be extremely frustrating to apply for job after job or internship after internship and never land the position. When you’re stuck in a process that’s often a bit complex and hard to understand at times, feedback becomes even more important, especially if you’re somehow deemed unfit for whatever it is you applied for. It’s not all bad though! Try any of the following to learn how you can turn your next rejection into an awesome opportunity to get valuable feedback on super important things like interview skills, job skills, your resume, and more. 

Ask for feedback soon after you interview.

If you want to know how your interview went, be sure to let whomever it is you just spoke with know you’re interested in hearing how the interview went from their perspective, and value any input they can give you on your interview skills and job readiness. Most career experts agree that it’s a bit inappropriate to directly ask someone what went well and what needs improving right after you’ve interviewed, most also agree that asking for feedback fairly soon (usually within 24 hours) after you’ve received a final decision is fine, as long as you go about it politiely.

Be clear about what you’re looking for in terms of feedback.

How to Overcome College Rejection in 4 Easy Steps

12/27/2013

Rejection sucks. Whether it’s a guy, friend, or college telling you “no,” it’s bound to sting at least a little bit. College rejections in particular can be especially painful, especially if you’ve just gotten turned down from your dream university or college. While you can’t control a school’s decision, you can control how you handle it in four easy steps.  

Step one: Give yourself time to wallow.

Remember that episode of Gilmore Girls where Rory refuses to spend the day wallowing after her first break-up with Dean, but breaks down anyways at a point? The same will happen if you refuse to acknowledge or accept the reality of the admissions office’s decision.

“Give yourself a day or two to mourn, then be ready to move on,” advises Susan Sykes, owner of SS Advising, a private college counseling service. Spend a day or two trying to move on or focusing on other things, while still allowing yourself to feel a little sad or regretful about the decision. If you’re having a hard time getting over a particular rejection, think about talking it over with a close friend or parent, writing or blogging about it, or trying one of these other ways to deal.