Should You Do Honors College?
Classes |  Source: @amsaaj

Should You Do Honors College?

Just another one of those college decisions to make.

Applying to be a part of Honors College is one major decision college students make. Being apart of your school's Honors College can help you tremendously throughout your college career but there are also drawbacks.

Whatever the case, there are many things to consider before deciding whether or not to be a part of Honors College.

Do You Meet The Entry Requirements?
Every school's Honors College is different, but most require at least a 3.35 GPA and less than 72 college credit hours. There may be slight differences between colleges, but basically, you've got be a relatively good student in terms of academics.

If you're a freshman trying to enter your school's Honors College, factors like your SAT score, your GPA, and a possible essay question come into play when trying to meet the requirements of the Honors College.

Can You Handle The Requirements?
Once you're in Honors College, there are things you've got to do to keep your place in Honors College; earning Honors credit. Honors credit is credit you get for doing things in the Honors College. Things like taking honors courses, studying abroad, doing an honors thesis, etc.

It's important that you make sure that you can handle the requirements that not only regular college demands, but also those that the Honors College demands. Because while Honors College is rewarding, it's also a lot of work.

Do You Think It Will Be Beneficial?
Let's be honest, no one wants to do something that won't help them in some way. So that's why there are perks to being in the Honors College. At my school, those in the Honors College get to register for classes first, get tickets to events, can live in the Honors only dorm, and the Honors College class size is smaller.

Besides these perks, being in your school's Honor College can help you intellectually by stimulating discussions and furthering your thinking. So if you think that the Honors College will benefit you, definitely try for it.

Do You Want To Do It?
This is the most important question to ask before applying for your school's Honors College. Is this something you really want? Ultimately, it will be you in the Honors College fulfilling the requirements and reaping the benefits.

So before you apply, make sure you are wanting to do this for you, and only you. If pressure is coming from outside sources to be a part of the Honors College, don't allow it to make a decision that you aren't fully sure about. Choose to do the Honors College because you want to, not because anyone else wants you to.

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Classes |  Source: vinnikava

How to Make Small Talk Work Big for You

It's all about practice and confidence.

This might come as a surprise from a major network news anchor, but I hate to, well, network. I'm an introvert at heart, and the thought of putting myself out there in a room full of people I don't know makes me feel totally freaked out and out of control.

As dorky as it sounds, I like to plan ahead before I go, whether "there" is a room full of finance wonks or a one-on-one dinner with one of my she-ros (I have many!) Here are some of my favorite tips for crushing your next networking convo:

1. Use names. Use someone's first name when you address them. You look more engaged in what that person's opinion actually is instead of just asking a generic question. For example, "Hey, Anna, did you see any of the Oscars this weekend? Wowza did Angelina Jolie knock it out of the park again!"

2. Leave it open. Ask open ended questions. If you ask, "were you able to find parking?" It's a "yes" or "no" answer and then the conversation is over. Instead, say something like, "The parking lot is a mess. I'm thinking of taking the bus. Where are you commuting from and how do you get to work?"

3. Listen more than you talk. This concept applies to any part of your professional life. In this context, keep in mind that people like to talk about stuff they like (read: not the stuff you like). If you can tap into that, you'll have a talker. Then, it's up to you to pay attention; don't zone out or think about your next question and instead ask natural follow ups to keep the conversation going.

If you're still nervous about small talk like I was back in the day, practice by chit chatting with everyone you encounter throughout the day: your barista, your hairstylist, you mail carrier, whoever. When in doubt, gab it out!

Trust me, if we ever get the chance to hang out in real life, you'll see that I literally talk to everyone I meet. Keeping that energy going will fuel it in others, and you'll have a great conversation going in no time.

And the more you talk and get to know people, the more of a natural rapport you develop and the more you become invested in them and vice versa, which can pay dividends in unexpectedly great ways down the road.

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Classes |  Source: robertomefe

Don't Check Out Now

A guide to keeping it together during the last month of school.

We were fooled by a perfect, warm week of spring break, and now we are all back at school feeling lost and unmotivated. The road to summer seems miles and miles away, even though it's only a month off. Although it's easier to start kicking back and letting summer mode take over, we have to do our best not to totally lose it by the end of the semester.

Keep in mind, there's still a lot of weight left in your grades. Even though it feels like there isn't a lot left, getting a bad grade on a test or project will probably lower your grade significantly, and we all know that once it's down, it's so hard to get back up.

Don't ruin it for yourself. Just keep up on schoolwork and focus as much as possible. You'll be glad you did. And if you want to test the waters and see what grade you need to get on a test to keep a decent percentage, use this simple grade calculator from Conquer College.

Get used to not having a break. In the real world, there usually aren't spring breaks and slack off weeks. Pushing yourself through things you might not want to do is going to mentally train you for life after undergrad.

Make your summer plans your reward. Remind yourself that more lazy days in the sun aren't too far away! Working hard now will make relaxation in May a lot more rewarding. And if you need a constant motivator, check out these "countdown to" apps.

Be the leader of your study group. Nothing gets you in the mindset to work more than encouraging others to work hard, too. Getting together with a group of people and leading a study session will help you in more ways than one.

Set boundaries for yourself. If you have trouble keeping yourself on track, plan out how each day should go. Don't just assume in your mind that you'll study when you have time after your last class. Form a schedule that governs how much time you will spend on studying in one day. Knowing that there is a stopping point will make it easier to keep going, rather than thinking you can stop studying whenever you want.

Trade a couple of Netflix marathons and a few hours of sleep to save your final grade. It sucks and is so difficult to do sometimes, but remember the motivation you once (hopefully) had, and how much good it did for you. And then enjoy your above 3.0 end to the semester, followed by a satisfying, well-earned summer!

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Classes |  Source: @isaactaracks

Conquering Your Thesis

Just do the damn thing.

At the start of senior year you thought writing a thesis would be fun. That all your older friends who wrote theses (and tried to warn you) were just wimps who would take to melodramatic Facebook statuses to lament. And you figured you could write and be that second semester senior you always aspired to be. Because first semester thesis work wasn't so bad, was it?

That's cute of you.

If you haven't figured it out by now, writing a thesis is akin to walking uphill in the snow. It's like the fights of Russell Crowe in...well, any movie he's in. It's like getting that MOFO ring into Mordor. One does not simply write a thesis.

My thesis was a 110 page jaunt that seemed to accomplish nothing I had set out for, and that has, thus far, only entertained myself (if you're looking for a read on the theoretical conceptions of altruism, holla at ya girl). I had panic attacks in the library, literal nightmares, and moments where I thought I would fail. Yet, I did the damn thing.

Completing my thesis is one of the accomplishments I am most proud of and believe it or not, I wouldn't trade the countless all-nighters for anything.

If you are in the process of a second semester thesis exodus, fear not. It's worth it. You can do it and here's how:

1. Just write.
After all my research, I couldn't decide the exact perfect way to organize my writing. So, instead of writing I'd spend hours superfluously outlining and researching even more.

Finally, I took the advice of my mentor: just write. If you're having trouble starting or are unsure of where to go, just write what you think is best. It may not be a final draft, but it'll help get the ball rolling.

2. Set a deadline before it's actually due.
I'd recommend picking a day that is a week before the actual due date. This way you have flexibility and can take your time with finishing touches.

3. Schedule wisely.
I had a date for when my first draft was due (the day before spring break, so that I could chill the fuck out) and an amount of pages I was aiming to hit. I used this countdown to figure out how many pages I had to write everyday to reach my goal.

Figure out how many pages you want to write per day or per week, or set specific goals for specific time periods.

4. Make a routine.
Having a daily process, like a usual library spot, a coffee order (that the baristas memorized) or a habitual break spot helped me focus and feel grounded.

5. Find a thesis partner.
Seek out a friend or someone in your major who is also writing a thesis. This provides someone who is going through the same process to ask for advice, questions, or to have someone to sit next to you in solidarity when it's 4 a.m. in an empty library.

6. Seek help.
I had a committee with three professors to ask questions and receive help from, but I also sought out assistance for my thesis from other individuals: deans, professors, other students.

Initially, I worried that seeking help would be asking too much. However, I found that every one of them was happy to lend a hand and their help was truly useful.

7. Lean on friends.
If you're lucky enough to have great friends like me, they'll notice you are stressed, tired and on the brink of insanity. My friends offered to run errands for me, bring me food to the library, provide rides, calm me down when I was panicking, or practice presentations with them.

I felt bad accepting these favors, but they wanted to be a good friend. Plus, these small gestures really meant a lot to me. Don't feel bad accepting generosity from your friends and remember to pay it forward when they need you. *Cue Lean on Me*

8. Take breaks.
If you never stop working, this will surely result in you blowing up (literally and figuratively). Have designated break times during the day, set bedtimes, take days off to rest, meditate, and exercise. These breaks will help you work more productively.

9. Be proud.
I spent a lot of my thesis time second guessing, criticizing, and feeling disappointed in myself. When I finished, however, I realized how hard I had worked and how proud of myself I was. It was an accomplishment I could take the credit for.

Make sure to think about how much you have accomplished, take ownership of that, and celebrate your success!

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Classes |  Source: @lovvelt

Why You Shouldn't Worry So Much About Being an Honors Student

It's basically just a sticker on your diploma.

I understand the feeling of wanting never-ending success in college. So when I was accepted into the honors college at my university, I felt like I had a new but also unwanted goal to complete.

It seemed like a lot of stress, but I kept telling myself that I had to do it because I wanted my peers to know I was an honors student. All I had to do was take an extra three to five hours worth of honor credits every semester before graduating. Simple enough right? Wrong. These are no ordinary courses. The difficulty was rising and so was my stress.

I'm a nursing major and having to add an extra class or two onto an already ridiculous course load is just completely unnecessary in my eyes. But the urge to do as much as possible while in college lingered, and I decided I didn't want to give up on being an honors student just yet.

But why did I care so much? Who would actually notice a different colored cord draped around my neck at graduation, paired with a small "honors" sticker pasted onto a diploma that no one even sees on the day of graduation? My grandma, of course cares. But bless her heart, she wouldn't understand how hard that even was to achieve.

What matters most should be the degree that you're trying to get in the field of study you chose. If you think about it, your future employer won't give a damn about the added work you put into those boring renaissance arts and history of the flute classes, because they clearly didn't prepare you for what you're about to be doing.

You assume you have to fight so hard for every possible honor and distinction, but step back and realize how it could possibly make you more fit to do your job that you are essentially getting your degree for.

I gave up the expectation I had for myself to be this so-called honors student. Because "honors" means all of that extra work (in which you must get no lower than a B in), and I didn't need that distraction or pressure. It won't make me a better nurse.

Those courses actually have no relevance to my major, or anything really. I decided that I don't need to waste time analyzing them just to be considered an honors student. My mom thinks I'm an honors student even when I'm not. I'll be okay, and so will you if you choose to not become an honors student.

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Classes |  Source: @smashleytime

How To Ace This Semester

You can do it!

For whatever reason, going back into the spring semester can be hard. It might be because we only have a month off versus a few months or it might be the winter blues kicking our butts, either way, there are ways to get motivated and do our best for school again. Here's how:

1. Think happy thoughts.
Surely there is one thing going on this semester that you are remotely excited about. Is it a class you're taking with a friend? Are you not working as many hours this semester?

Whatever happy thoughts you can think of, hold on to them and don't let go. At least not until the end of the semester. Optimism is a powerful tool if used correctly, and I can certainly say no one has ever had a panic attack from happiness.

2. Eliminate as much stress as you can.
Considering that this seems to be the idc semester, this one shouldn't be too hard. However, if you have any hopes of getting motivated into getting any work done, you need to get rid of any baggage that will slow you down.

For example, having a tiff with a friend? Try to get that resolved before the semester starts, otherwise you will sabotage your motivation because you will feel depressed/pissed.

3. Identify your weak spots.
Do you tend to shake off math homework for Netflix? Then you may want to think about either not subscribing for a few months or limiting yourself on screen time.

It's an adult world we're going into, so we need to make adult decisions. It's tough, I know, but your grades will most likely thank you later for seeing what your weak points are and planning accordingly for this next semester.

4. Set goals.
Cheesy, yes. Effective? Also yes. If you set a goal for what grades you would like to get in your classes or how much time you are going to study a week, this gives you an idea of what sort of effort you are going to put into this semester.

Even if you're goal is a get a B in a subject where you normally get a C, this is a wonderful goal to think about adopting. Any goal is better than no goal.

5. Remember, you are capable.
One thing that can instantly kill your chances of success is lack of confidence. Remember that you have done well enough to get into college, if you can't think of any other achievements in your life (of which I'm sure there are many)!

Look a hard class in the eye and tell it what's up. You can handle any class college gives to you; you just need to remind yourself (maybe on a daily basis) that you mean business and you will do well.