Not All Majors Are Created Equal
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Not All Majors Are Created Equal

Some are easy, some are most definitely not.

Ever since I switched my major, I realized something that isn't exactly fair: not all majors are hard.

The one I had just switched from was a bear: I had to get help with every assignment, did okay on the tests, and found myself zoning out sometimes because I wasn't comprehending the material. With this major, I ace every assignment and test and I completely understand what's going on (partly because I knew what some of the textbooks were talking about already, as they seemed to be common sense). What gives?

Easiness of a major can really depend on how your brain works. Some people are more science minded than me, so they probably think that biology is the easiest thing on the face of the earth, where I think English is a piece of cake.

Besides this fact, the curriculum is different for nearly every major. Now some of you are probably thinking "well, duh," but hear me out: if you pick a major, you need to be willing to take the baggage (or lack thereof) that goes with it.

Science-based classes and engineering classes will almost always have a lab attached to the course, which is more time you need to take to get a good grade. English classes require more essays than some other classes, and music majors will have to most likely take a lot of personal time to rehearse a piece they need to play for their final. Sure, someone may "ooo" and "ahh" about being a teacher, but they didn't expect having a block schedule or student teaching.

For other majors, it seems like there isn't much work that we have to do at all. We have our reading discussions, weekly chats, and maybe a project sprinkled here and there, but it isn't nearly as intensive as some others.

Some students may be okay with this, and some may think that they aren't getting the most out of their major. So the bottom line is: know what you are getting into when you pick a major.

Do research into the majors offered at your school and ask your adviser about the work loads before you decide to commit. If I had done that my freshman year, it would have saved me a lot of grief hoping that my credits would carry over from another major because I didn't like it enough to deal with the work load.

Ask other classmates what they think of their majors, and think long and hard about what your limits are when it comes to schoolwork. With some, the work is absolutely worth it to you. Some are absolutely not.

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Why You Should Minor in a Foreign Language

Como se dice... bar?

Lately, the consensus has been that college majors and minors don't really matter. It's all about what you make of your degree, how you sell yourself...yada, yada. With all of this talk, minoring in a foreign language may seem like a pointless endeavor, but it's actually one the most practical (and fun) moves you can make. Many schools already have a language requirement and with just a few more classes, you can both build your resume and be able to flawlessly ask that hot Frenchie, "voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir?"

It helps you snag your dream job
Being multilingual is a great resume builder. Regardless of the field you are in, chances are that some facet of the company or organization is international. Being the person in the office that can translate a press release from Italian or properly greet your Japanese clients is not something to be sneezed at. It's an asset that can set you apart from other applicants and translates into a direct workplace skill.

You'll travel like a native.
Studying abroad is an awesome opportunity. Wherever you decide to go, the experiences are invaluable and unforgettable. Plus, knowing the language of the country you are visiting only enhances the trip. Understanding the menu or being able to ask for directions will serve you and your travel companions well. The ability to ask locals about the best places can reveal destinations that no guidebook would be able to provide. Another bonus is that you will return from abroad significantly better at the language.

It'll grow your brain.
Knowing another language has been proven great for your brain in a lot of respects. Improved decision-making skills, easier multi-tasking, stronger memory, and better test scores are all skills associated with polyglots. Delayed onset of dementia and Alzheimer's are also linked to knowing another language, serving you well past your college years.

You get the most out of your tuition.
We've all been there. You take a class, do the reading, pass the tests and yet at the end of the course, you walk away wondering what you actually learned. Language classes are quite the opposite. Even at an elementary level, you will leave the class knowing more than when you walked in and be able to demonstrate it. Even if it's just being able to ask como esta? or read a simple sign, you gain a lifelong skill that has the potential to serve you better than Anthro 101.

It's hot.
Being an American student and accidentally responding to a Hindi conversation really freaks people out. It's awesome. Knowing a more obscure language is the most practical party trick there is. From eavesdropping on conversations on the subway to dazzling your date with your linguistic ability, knowing another language is an impressive skill and a great confidence booster that can be used for both good-and mischief.

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Is Double Majoring for You?

Microsoft Word is not a skill.

I came into college telling people I was triple majoring and double minoring on the pre-law track.

About the second week of school when I regained my sanity and came to terms with the reality that I wanted to survive the next four years, I decided on a finance and business analytics double major, and just one minor.

But regardless, a dual major is not for the faint of heart. It takes time, planning, and at least a vague grasp on what you want to do with your future. With that being said, here are some things you should evaluate when considering a double major.

Make sure your school allows it
First things first, you have to make sure you and the administration are on the same page. For example, within the business program at my school you are only allowed to double major inside the b-school. Other schools you can double in underwater basket weaving and the art of not giving a damn for all they care, as long as you pay your tuition on time.

Look for overlap
Chances are if a dual major means taking one or two (or three) victory laps, it may not be worth the extra time and money. Check to make sure they share a few credits, or at least see if certain classes are interchangeable for meeting the degree requirements. Otherwise just know you have a long road ahead of you, pal.

Make it relevant
There's a certain advantage to having a diverse resume, but you don't want your majors to be so different that it looks like you have no clue what the hell you're doing. Try choosing majors that compliment each other, or at least have a clear focus. Maybe choose Spanish to compliment your international business major, or graphic design to work side-by-side with journalism.

Interests are for minors
Dual majors are expensive in terms of time, money, and opportunity cost. Don't dedicate yourself to an extra 28 credit hours just because you want to learn more about medieval history. If you're interested in something, minor in it. Employers won't put too much weight on it, but it's still enough to give you a well-rounded education.

In terms of commitments it's like the friends with benefits of college: it's something to explore in your free time but you won't be entirely devastated if it doesn't work out the way you originally thought.

So you want to double major, but can't pick a second degree
Alright so maybe you've got a ton of free space, you got your gen-eds out of the way, and you're looking for something that will take up your time and appeal to future employers. When in doubt? Go with technology.

Fields in technology are all the rage because when you're working as an accountant or a broadcaster you can show your boss what a badass you are with coding, data models and Adobe software. Because no, operating Microsoft Word is no longer something to stand out on your resume.

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How to Make Writing a Research Paper Not Suck

These eight tips will keep you sane.

Writing a long research paper is one of the biggest drudgeries of college life. So many pages. So much to research. Blek.

Yes, research papers can bring a lot of pain. But they don't have to--not if you know the smart way to write a research paper. Here are eight tricks you should use every time you get a research paper assignment:

Why it sucks: Long research papers are boring.
How to make it better: Pick a topic that truly interests you. You usually have a good amount of flexibility to choose your topic, so take advantage of it.

Why it sucks: There's too much information to research.
How to make it better: Find about two sources that are really comprehensive, and get the bulk of your information from them. Use additional sources to fill in missing facts and add supporting evidence.

Why it sucks: Drafting a long paper is overwhelming.
How to make it better: Outline your paper before drafting. Outlines help break up the paper into more manageable chunks. Draft one section, take a break if you'd like, and then draft another section.

Why it sucks: You don't know how to create an outline.
How to make it better: The most basic outline has three parts--an introduction, body, and conclusion. Think critically about your beliefor argument. That's the thesis. Brainstorm several ideas to support it and pull out the three strongest ideas. There's your body. Then summarize what all those supporting points mean. That's the conclusion.

Why it sucks: It's hard to keep track of what information came from which source.
How to make it better: Create a note-taking system, and stick to it. One approach is to create a code for each line in your outline (i.e., 1A, 1B, etc.). Take notes on index cards, and write the corresponding code in the top corner of each card.

Why it sucks: You don't have enough time to write it.
How to make it better:
There's really only one cure for this--start early. What if you find out that there isn't enough information about your topic? You're going to need as much time as you can get to switch gears.

Why it sucks: You don't have all the bibliographicalinformation you need.
How to make it better:
Before you start taking notes froma source, find all the bibliographical information required. Can't find it?Ditch the source--before you get in too deep.

Why it sucks: You think you're a bad writer.
How to make it better: Keep your sentences short and punchy--one idea per sentence. Don't force yourself to use big words that you don't understand. And stop telling yourself you're a bad writer.

Work on your paper a little bit each day. If you get frustrated, put it away and do something else. Return to it with a fresh mind. If you stay positive and put in the effort, research papers can actually be painless.

Word to your flocker.

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When is the Very Best Time to Write?

It's a trick question.

Just like there's an optimal time to post on Instagram, buy a computer, and ask your parents for money, there's an optimal time to write.

You might be thinking that it's in the morning. You've probably heard multiple times how the morning is supposed to be the best time to do work because you're fresh.

Or maybe you're thinking that the evening is the best time to write, because classes are done and out of the way.

Or you could be guessing it's the afternoon. Split the difference, ya know?

So what's the answer?

All of the above. The fact is, the best time to write is different for everyone. And that's perfectly OK. Here's how to figure out your optimal time to write.

Write when you have a fresh mind. Just because you're supposed to be on top of it and have a sharp mind in the morning doesn't mean that you do. Maybe you feel fresh after an afternoon nap. Determine when you feel most energized during the day, and write then.

Write when you have three to four hours of uninterrupted time. This can be a biggie. Start writing when you have several free hours ahead. You won't feel like you have to jump to something else soon.

Write when you can consistently set that time aside each week. Writing is like working out--you need a routine to get it done. If Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. are always free, for instance, and you feel refreshed and energized, make that your writing time.

Ultimately, you should incorporate writing into your schedule in the most natural way possible. There's a much better chance you'll produce your best work, produce it faster, and hit your deadlines.

Word to your flocker.

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How to Survive Group Projects

No, your professor wasn't being mean by assigning group members, trust me.

The moment your professor announces an upcoming group project, you cringe. It triggers memories about being let down by group members in the past. You can't bear to have this happen again.

But then your professor announces that group members have been assigned. Could it get any worse? Your anxiety level rises at the thought of this being your biggest assignment in the class. And your performance will make or break your grade. We've all been there!

On the other hand, group projects don't have to make or break you. It's up to you to make the most of them. Being proactive is the key to successfully completing them, not being reactive.

Don't let the past misfortunes of group projects deter you from letting your enthusiasm shine through. Let the past be the past, and look forward to a more productive future. Here are a few tips to get you there.

Be an early bird.
Get started on your group project as early as possible. The closer you wait till the deadline, the harder it will be to complete it. Exchange contact information the first day you learn who your group members are. Do this before everyone leaves class. Record it all with your cell phone instead of writing it on paper. You won't have to worry about anyone failing to write legibly. Otherwise, it can be super hard to contact people.

Be tech-savvy.
Use special software, such as Basecamp and Google Hangout, to communicate outside of class. Basecamp easily allows you to create groups, brainstorm ideas, and organize assignments - all in one place. Google Hangouts makes interactions more personable by adding the visual element. Going these routes helps you avoid the cluttered email experience. Also, avoid missing out on any information from group members.

Focus on group strengths.
Determine what everyone's strengths are, and implement this into your group project strategy. Maybe you find out one person is great with keeping track of group tasks. Another person might do a phenomenal job of putting together a slide show presentation. Whatever the case, encourage everyone to take on a role that allows each one to thrive. Bringing together the strengths of each member will inspire everyone to take things seriously.

Call out the slackers.
Don't be afraid to come clear to group members about their lack of contribution. Just don't sound like an asshole when doing it. It's best if you handle conflict with the misbehaved in private. Try not to be argumentative or engage in personal attacks. Chances are the slackers are being bombarded with other responsibilities that are cutting into group work. Create some sort of compromise to help them get back on track.

There's a good chance your future career will require a lot of group projects, so get used to them. You'll thank your professor later.