Tips for Staying in Touch with High School Friends
08.06.2016 | College Life Source: michaeljung

Tips for Staying in Touch with High School Friends

It's hard, but it's worth it.

As an incoming college freshman, I know I'll be on a new campus soon enough, making new friends. From what I've gathered, it's perfectly OK to not stay in touch with every single friend from high school.

It's just not reasonable if you want to make new friends in college and not spend every waking minute on iMessage or Snapchat. But, if there's a few friends from high school you'd like to stay in touch with, here are some tips for making that happen.

Tip #1
The first step in staying in touch with high school friends is choosing the friends who you really want to remain in your life. These are the select people who will be there to hear all about your freshman orientation, the crazy stories you have from college, and the ones who you can talk to about anything. This may very well mean cutting ties with old friendships because, let's be honest, not all friendships are forever. It is very difficult to do this, but sometimes it's for the better. And, always remember, nothing is forever.

Tip #2
If you want to have someone your life or be involved in their life, you have to make it a habit. If you don't get in a routine of communicating with someone, chances are, you won't. You won't get to hang out with them in person that often, so find a way to effectively stay in touch.

Tip #3
The most common way to stay in touch with people is through social media. It's easy to see what people are up to via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. However, you don't have to rely on social media to stay in touch. Remember that you can call or FaceTime your high school friends on a weekly or biweekly basis. It'll feel very comforting to hear their voices, almost like you're with them in real life!

Tip #4
Write letters. This may seem like an ancient way of communicating, but it is an extremely fun and personal way. It's very exciting to receive mail at college, and writing letters can be a great destresser. Buy some cute stationery and colorful pens to send letters. Exchanging letters does take time, so you won't have the pressure to immediately text or call someone back.

Tip #5
Send care packages. If you have some extra time (and money), send your special high school friends some love in the form of their favorite candy or food, a picture, and apparel from your college. This will truly make their day and show that you really do care for and miss them.

Tip #7
Visit your high school friends at their schools. This way you can temporarily be a part of their present lives. I know I'm looking forward to visiting my best friend from high school and going to basketball games at the Carrier Dome with her!

Tip #6
When you are home, make sure you set aside time to spend with your high school friends. This is your opportunity to hang out with them in person. Summer in particular is a great time to plan a weekend getaway or road trip.

Staying in touch with distant friends is a challenge no doubt, but it is possible - and well worth it.

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06.15.2016 | College Life Source: jennifer.dziak14

I Transferred From My Dream School

And it was the best decision I have ever made.

My dad went to The University of Wisconsin-Madison, and when I say he went there I mean he eats, sleeps, and breathes his alma mater. I was literally bred to attend Wisco. My baby pictures feature me in Wisconsin with my baby blanket that pictured Bucky, the mascot, as a backdrop. I owned more apparel from that school than regular clothing. I literally had two sets of earrings that featured the "W" emblem. My family even vacationed at the college and surrounding town one summer, which was cool with me because they had some really good ice cream, and at age seven that is all that matters.

My father's love of Wisconsin, the surrounding town, and his experience while attending made me love the school passionately. When I reached high school there was no question in my mind that it was the school I was going to attend. I guess I must have missed one little detail though, I actually needed to get good grades. Low and behold, junior year when I visited and spoke with an advisor he pretty much flat-out told me I wouldn't get in unless I transferred after a year or two. It was December 12th of my senior year when I received the letter that informed me I had been denied. I expected that, but it stung nonetheless. I got accepted to another school and briefly attended, while working my ass off to actually get good grades for once, before transferring to the school I had always wanted to attend, Wisconsin.

My first semester there was awesome, the parties were fun, the town was perfect and I made a few good friends. I went home pleased and confident that this was the place for me, feeling as though everything had fallen into place. Sophomore year rolled around and from day one things were different. My friends were involved in greek life, I was not. I lived alone and I felt isolated, bored, and frustrated. My friends weren't treating me nicely, I wasn't producing the grades I was used to getting, and it all left me feeling empty and alone. I was a two-hour plane ride or fourteen-hour drive from home, and my entire world came crashing down. I tried to get a job, make new friends and branch out by joining clubs. But everywhere I turned was a dead end, I felt hopeless and frustrated. I had worked so hard to be able to attend my dream school, yet nothing was working out. I had never felt so unhappy.

In the midst of tears, I got a phone call from a family friend. I cried to her about my loneliness, lack of a social life, and frustration. I was encountering such a serious struggle and I didn't know what to do, no part of me wanted to give up on my dream, but it seemed that I hated everything except the name and the physical attributes of the school. I had worked so hard, and this was my dream school so what the hell?! She told me that it might have just meant to be a dream, not a reality and those words stung more than anything.

Following that phone call I talked to my mom and asked her to book me a flight home to New Jersey. Once I was home a few weeks later, I embarked on the three-hour ride to State College, Pennsylvania. I'd visited Penn State before but not with an open mind. I visited some of my best friends for homecoming weekend and had the time of my life. I teetered on the decision to transfer for two more months. On a snowy November morning, Wisconsin had their last tailgating game day and I was sitting in my room, crying over the difficulties I was still encountering. On a morning that was supposed to be fun, I was sobbing. After getting a job I really liked and joining interesting clubs which did not improve my experience, I made the decision to transfer to Penn State. I made this decision knowing that there was no turning back and that I couldn't second guess myself, or I would end up frustrated and stuck again. Honestly, I still miss Madison, but I wouldn't trade my final decision for anything. I finally feel like I am where I belong, and although it wasn't where I always pictured myself, I love it regardless.

Dream schools aren't always meant to be reality, they are sometimes meant to be just that, a dream. I am beyond happy with my decision to transfer and I have had some of the best days, weeks, and months of my life at State College. If you are like I was, close-minded and convinced there's only one school for you, take a step back. Take it from me, you can enjoy a school only as much as you let yourself. I've met some of the coolest people at PSU and I no longer feel that horrible frustration with my college experience that I previously felt. I will love Bucky till I die, and when I get older I'm sure I'll stroll the streets of beautiful Madison with only fond memories. But I'll rock a Penn State sweatshirt while I do it.

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06.10.2016 | College Life Source: annalise17

Calling All High School Seniors

Wait, you have to do work in college too?

I don't know if you've been told yet but the end is near, and by 'the end' I mean high school. It's time to face facts, there's more to the world than high school drama. Trust me, that bubble you've been living in is about to get violently popped. No worries though, I'm sure the air is a lot more suitable than that soapy consistency you've gotten used to.

First thing's first, college is nothing like high school. Not only are you taking classes there, but you're literally living at school. Welcome home! With that being said, it is a cultural shock. You will get homesick. There will be times when all you want is to do is be a kid again. As long as you embrace that fact now, you won't be as surprised when you get punched in the face with a ton of nostalgia.

Another difference is the size. Even if it's considered to be a small college, it's still a lot bigger than your average high school. With that added size comes the distance that a high school lacks. Which diminishes the ability for cliques to be as noticeable and as "clique-y." If you think that you're going to graduate as Regina George and be Regina George in college, you're horribly mistaken.

There are no teachers in college, there are only professors. What does that mean, you ask? It means that in college, the professors will get paid whether you pass or fail. This is where accountability comes in. You are fully responsible for your grades and everything else that you do. YOU have to make sure that papers are turned in. YOU have to make sure that you've studied. YOU have to make sure that you understand your class.

This is your future, therefore, it's your responsibility and it rests in your hands. Be careful. SHOW UP TO CLASS. I know it's tempting to stay in bed, because technically you have that choice, but trust me, that extra sleep is not worth it. Not when it comes to your GPA. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Like I said before, the professor gets paid regardless of your grade, so grow some balls and raise your hand. I guarantee that there's someone else who's asking themselves the very same question, so just go ahead and help a fellow student out.

Lastly, let's talk about parties. I know it can be really easy to turn up every weekend, and I know that the idea of partaking in things that you aren't legally allowed to partake in seems a lot more fascinating than sitting in a class preparing for a future that adds dollar signs to your bank account, but you have responsibilities. There's a strong possibility that if you party every weekend you're neglecting your responsibilities and will end up flunking out of college and living in your parents basement. It's okay to have fun, but remember that there's a fine balance between work and play.

So, just to reiterate, your freedom is in the palm of your hand. Neither your parents nor your teachers have shoved this choice down your throat. It's time to be an adult. Procrastination really does kill your GPA and your bank account (college tuition is hella expensive). Money is never easily accessible, so please don't spend it all on illegal substances.

Oh and one more thing, diversity is a real thing, not just something you see on television, so get ready for those who speak, look, and believe differently than you. All in all, college is an amazingly euphoric and self-assessing place, no need to worry about it! It's a big transition that we all have to go through.

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11.24.2016 | College Life Source: @aubreeplodinec

Tips for Staying Fit Abroad

It's hard to do when you're away from home.

If you're abroad like I am, you might be struggling with staying fit and healthy. You're probably eating delicious food, legally drinking wine, and devouring gelato and cappuccinos every day.

If you're in a city, you probably walk an average of two miles per day because you have to go to class, the grocery store, and to your favorite hangout spots. However, walking is not as satisfying as the gym or a sports game.

I've found that joining a gym is not very realistic because a) it's hella expensive b) the gym is far away c) you wouldn't use it like you would on a typical college campus.

Even though it's already November, it's not too late to start living a more balanced lifestyle. One of my November goals is to start eating healthier and working exercise (other than walking) into my day. Here are some helpful and realistic tips to live a balanced abroad lifestyle!

Write a daily workout routine/schedule.
Pinterest has an amazing variety of daily workouts. Take an hour to sit down and look at different ones before throwing your own master workout list. Post it somewhere you will see it all the time to keep you motivated!

I have a workout routine for every day (except Sunday--gotta have an off day) in addition to days that I will run. I didn't realize how effective home workouts really can be. You don't need a lot of space to get cardio and ab work in!

Eat salad.
A lot of my diet in Italy has, of course, consisted of pizza and pasta. It's taken me two months to go to the grocery store and buy lettuce, fruit, and vegetables to put into salad form.

I forgot how delicious salad is, not to mention healthy! Some baby arugula, goat cheese, green apples, walnuts with balsamic and olive oil hits the spot, leaving you feeling full and good.

Cut back on your sweet tooth.
Try limiting yourself to gelato or pizza to once or twice a week instead of three to four times a week. You can still enjoy it, just less frequently.

Get a friend to help.
Friends can be great sources of motivation! Have them work out with you and eat healthy with you. You guys can push each other to get stronger.

Sleep.
This is a no brainer, but sleep is essential to your well-being. It can be hard on the nights when you want to go out with your friends before an 8 a.m., but make sure you are getting at least eight hours a night.

The abroad experience is one of the most invigorating and amazing experiences you'll ever have in your life. You'll learn unforgettable lessons, create lifelong memories, and make best friends. You should enjoy the food, culture, and sites, but it's important to keep things in perspective. Your health comes first!

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01.10.2017 | College Life Source: @smgu3

How To Ensure That You Didn't Peak In High School

The best is yet to come, people.

Ahh high school. Those four years were some of the most formative of your life- you had your first homecoming dance, your first real heartbreak, your first joint. It was in those hallways that you started to decide what kind of people you wanted to surround yourself with and what kind of person you wanted to be.

But there was a time and a place for all that, and if you've already received your diploma, that time is in the past. We applaud you quarterback, prom queen, and class pres. You truly reined supreme in the cafeteria. But all good things must come to end because no one wants to be that creepy grad who keeps showing up to the football games.

There's nothing wrong with having enjoyed your four years of high school, but here's how to make sure that's not where you peak.

Forget the FOMO.
Back in the glory days, parties could be few and far between. Missing a house party was sure to leave you in the dark on the juicy gossip being mulled over in homeroom and the dish on who went to third base in Kyle's parent's bathroom. But even worse than being unable to attend was receiving no invite at all...those bitches.

Nowadays if you wake up with a news feed of red solo cups, you shouldn't sweat it. Sure you want to see your own friends, but if another crew has a banger and you weren't on the list, that's just one less drunken conversation about your intended major that you have to have.

Let your demons die.
The hallways of high school were like a minefield. Not only did you have to deal with your own enemies, but those of your friends as well. Because no one crosses MY crew and gets away with it. No one.

But hey, we're all in the real world now, and even though Becca stole your prom dress when you clearly bought it first, it's about that time to stop cursing her name every time she comes up in conversation. When you can care less about all the petty bullshit that went down in high school, you know you've made it out.

Understand that high school events are for high schoolers.
Senior year you probably all made vows to come back for just one more basketball game, or crash the annual valentines party. But hopefully upon marching across that graduation auditorium packed with overeager sweaty parents, a thought struck you: I am so getting out of here.

We all remember those alumni for lingering far too many years with us in the student section or sitting in the background of parties, a little too eager to take pictures with the newly budding sophomore girls. Don't be that human.

High school was great, but there is a whole lot greater left to come. Sure, remembering those shaping years of our lives can be nostalgic, but keep it at that; distant memories you can look back on, blur out the details you didn't like, and give a little wistful sigh as you romanticize the height of your puberty.

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11.06.2015 | College Life

High School vs. College

It's a whole new ballgame, people.

Throughout high school, my teachers would always tell us they were "preparing us for college." And whenever my parents refused to help me with a problem--admittedly, one I was perfectly capable of fixing myself--they would say they were "making me independant for college life." But once I actually stepped foot on campus, it was pretty obvious: Nothing that I learned in my high school days could be applied to my new life.

College is, without a doubt, a whole new ballgame.

First off, in college there is no such thing as "popularity" like there was in high school. There isn't a table during lunch where all the popular kids sit. There aren't dances that you need a date for or games where all the "cool" students sit in one section. No one cares about how you dress, because everyone looks like a slob all the time. Friends aren't made by wearing the latest trends or by sitting at a certain table at lunch. In college, you make friends by being kind and considerate. Seriously. College is stressful enough on its own; and no one has the time or the desire to hang out with negative or snobby individuals. So don't be one. In college, the people with a lot of friends are the ones who are genuinely nice to others.

In high school, I would always try to skip class. By the end of each year, my absences would be maxed out and I literally couldn't miss another day. But in college, attendance usually doesn't matter. Many professors don't even take attendance. But the thing is, in college, every class actually does matter. Admit it, there would be days you went to class in high school and probably walked out of there not having learned anything. That does not happen in college--There may be a whole section on a test of information that was covered in just one day. And conveniently, that will probably be the day you decided to take a nap instead of attend class. Before I left for my second semester of college, my dad calculated how much each class was worth: If I skipped class to take a nap, that nap would cost me $70 dollars. I haven't skipped a class since.

Another college trend: Effort is attractive. Studying hard and using your resources is not looked down upon in college, whereas in high school, my peers would always pressure me into doing something fun, rather than studying for a test. But in college, every student is paying thousands of dollars just to learn, so most take it more seriously. In college, effort is noticed, appreciated, and highly respected among college students.

Something I always disliked about high school was that I felt like I had to look, act, or talk a certain way to be accepted. And when I look back on it, that way of thinking kept me from doing a lot of things that I would have really enjoyed or excelled at.

But being a college student gives you the freedom to break out, try new things, and embrace a different side of yourself. You may have been the cheerleader in high school, but you can be a sports writer in college. Or you may have been a band kid in your hometown, but in college you can embrace Greek life. There are no labels when you take your first steps on campus. You can create your own label--and your own college identity.