Why is everything so confusing?

Were you ever in on a joke that only a few people understood?  It felt good to be “in the know”, didn’t it?  Did you feel, almost, superior to those that didn’t “get it”?  Don’t feel bad.  We have all had moments when we were privy to information that others did not have and it made us feel confidence in ourselves and in where we stood. 

It may feel the same way for you in your first weeks at college.  People are speaking a strange language that you don’t understand.  They are running their lives by expectations that you are not aware of.  They are going to and from with ease and you feel foolish trying to find the laundry room. 

Upperclassmen, professors, and staff all seem to be in on the same joke with the same lingo, the same world and orbit in which they are all surviving and thriving in and they don’t seem to be willing to let you in on the secret language.

In order to survive and thrive you must learn about this new culture and the expectations of you.  Who should you go to?  Who would be willing to and knowledgeable of the necessary information to make your transition to college a smooth one?

There are lots of things that you can do/know to ensure your success:

Read your syllabi

Read your college catalogue

Create a long-term educational plan

Know your general requirements

Know your prerequisites

Confirm your major

Meet with instructors during office hours

Know the importance of grade point average (GPA)

Know how to compute GPA

If you stop attending class, withdraw officially

Talk to instructors before withdrawing

Know your lifetime eligibility for financial aid

Keep a file of important documents

Keep a journal

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

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Leveraging your gifts

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer

Balancing school and life can be a challenge for many college students. The time commitments involved with attending classes, completing homework, holding down a job and making time for a social life can feel overwhelming. Learning how to be productive so you get your assignments done on time and still have room in your life for other activities can make a big difference.

Here are some tips as you start your college journey:

Find the right environment -Where you work matters. Create a space conducive to productivity.  For some it will be there room, for others they will need to reserve a study room in the library.

Work during your peak productivity-Pay attention to when you are most alert during the day (or even the night). Many of us have body cycles that can be tracked. Try to arrange your schedule so homework time takes place during your peak hours.

Start with the most important item-Prioritize your assignments to focus on the most important task first. Homework journals and planners also work well for managing assignments. Set up reminders on your app to alert you two or three days before something is due.

Begin the homework session-Get started with the harder assignment first, while you are still relatively fresh and before two or three hours saps your will power. The longer you work, the harder it is to resist distractions.

Break down your projects-Another step in how to be productive is to break down your projects. This strategy gives you the ability to take a break when you feel stuck on a task and switch to another assignment. You can complete homework over two or three sessions, rather than scrambling at the last minute and you’ll work will be of higher quality.

Apps are your friends-Web-based and mobile apps can be extremely helpful. Use scheduling and to-do apps to break down homework tasks and coordinate on group projects. Set up reminders and alerts for the most important items. There are time management apps that help you keep track of your productivity so you can identify and eliminate problem behaviors. It is even possible to use programs that shut down your access to social media networks for a period of time so that you aren’t tempted to surf the web when you should be studying.

Planning ahead and developing good study habits is essential in helping you get your work done more quickly, leaving time for other pursuits as you kick off your first year of college.

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

Am I the only one frustrated?

Many students find their first few weeks in college a confusing and frustrating period.  Even excellent students who achieved high grades in high school discover that college is a difficult and challenging experience.

Getting started in college may be difficult for you because it is a completely new situation.  The physical surroundings are new and it is easy to feel lost.  Making new friends and college classes can be a challenge.  You may not know anyone to ask questions of and the classes are conducted differently from high school classes.  Your professors have different expectations from your high school teachers.  You will find that you have a lot of work and responsibility, but also a lot of freedom.  The first few weeks of class you may feel as if the schoolwork is actually less than what you used to do in high school.  My comment to that is, “You’re doing it wrong”.  The beginning of any semester is when you should expect to do a lot of work and a lot of preparation in order to have a successful semester. 

In the first few weeks of each semester and in order to achieve success in college you should master 1) what is expected of you in your classes and your college surroundings, 2) becoming an active learner, 3) getting off on the right start, 4) learning about campus facilities and resources, 5) becoming familiar with your textbooks, and 6) learning to manage stress.

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

Fear of Failure

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” – C.S. Lewis

Feeling stupid…students use that word all of the time. I cringe every time I hear someone utter the word.

Stupid.  I hadn’t considered how the power of that word multiplies when it takes the form of self-speak. I hadn’t realized how much it scared me to think that that word might follow students throughout their lives.

But: Lack of awareness is not the same as ignorance. Ignorance is a choice, a willful turning away from knowledge. That choice is the opposite of education, and anyone who pursues a college degree should take words like “stupid” out of their vocabulary.

We’re not stupid. We’re not ignorant. The biggest lessons with the most powerful punch are smack dab in the middle of the uncomfortable moments—always the clearest indicator that we’re present in a perfect storm of learning. The truly brave then know there’s an adventure to have if we look for even more information about our perception gap.

Feeling stupid is a gut reaction of fear that the person you are learning from is judging you and thinking less of you. Maybe they are. I suspect that the grading system used by institutional education is part of what creates that fear. But we can be gentler and kinder to ourselves. Try to be grateful for those learning moments and to let the fear of judgment go.

Stupid can be such a divisive word. It’s harmful because it rejects the fact that you always had, and will continue to have, the capacity to learn.

Don’t worry. You’re a better person than you were a moment before, and it’s mostly because of the most real form of education.

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

The Journey begins….Where do I start?

Beginning college can be daunting.  This is a total life change for you.  New teachers.  New peers.  New subjects.  New schedule.  You may even be dealing with a new living arrangement.  This is a total game changer.  You may think you’ve got this or you may be very anxious about this new experience.  Regardless of which angle you are coming from, this is new. 

New needs are coming your way.  New expectations, it will seem, from everybody.  All of this “newness” can be anxiety-inducing.  No worries.  We are here to tackle this together.  Let’s get a head start before things get overwhelming.

Let’s hit the ground running so that you can feel a sense of control that most new college students rarely feel in their first semester of college.

Don’t let yourself relax, yet.  Get the “lay of the land” and know what you must do before you fall into that comfy chair and allow the rest of the semester pass you by.

This week we will address topics such as: 

Learn your campus

Locate your classrooms

Learn your instructors’ names, office locations, and office hours

Study the syllabus for each class

Get all of your learning supplies

Create a schedule

Get comfortable with campus technology

Manage your money

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

Be selective

6 Key Decisions You will make throughout College

While the biggest decision you have made up to this point may have been where you will go to college, the tough choices certainly don’t stop there. There are academic, social and career-related commitments every college student must make in order to progress through their time at school.

1. Your major/minor

You might go into college thinking you know exactly what you want to do (or the case might be the opposite), but you will come to a point where you have to choose the concentration you want your studies in college to have.

Choosing your major will dictate what classes you take, what students you meet and what professors you get the chance to work with for the remainder of your time at college. Beyond just the decision of your major as an undergraduate, you might be considering adding a minor to your program of study. Adding a minor can help supplement your college education and narrow your focus for your future profession.

2. The friends you make

While picking who does and does not make it into your social circle might seem like something you don’t really have control over, college is the prime time to ensure that the friends you surround yourself with are ones you can count on. During your freshman year, you might find yourself befriending every person you meet, but when you transition into your second and upperclassman years, you will solidify those that you will devote time and effort into.

This means that you do have control over your friendships, and if you want to succeed at school (and later on in life), you have to remember that your friends are a reflection of you and that they will influence you, even if you don’t realize it while it’s happening. Friendships can make or break your college years.

The friends you don’t make can be important to your personal growth as well. Letting go of friendships that are not healthy for you can help you have a good college experience.  You absolutely do not have to be friends with everyone, and you don’t have to stay friends with everyone you befriend during your first week at college, or even your first year. You have the power to dictate the impact of the people in your life on your own well-being, so don’t forget that you come first.

3. The clubs and organizations you join

From admissions to Greek life to sports teams or the campus radio station, everyone knows there are a million and one collegiate organizations you can get involved in. Most colleges run a “club fair” that might only seem to be about getting as much free food and gear as you want, but it is to your benefit to get involved in things you’re interested in.

4. Going abroad

Determining whether or not you’ll take time away from your home campus to go abroad is an important choice. There are pros and cons to each side, and you’ll need to put in lots of research if going abroad is something you’re interested in doing.

5. What you do with your summers

Summers in college are (as your parents will often remind you) crucial time in your undergraduate years. You might choose to work or intern, go home or stay at school or come up with some other summer alternative altogether. Regardless, making this decision means you have to be able to keep yourself in check and make plans in advance.

If you choose to go the career-oriented route during one of your college summers, it might have a huge impact on your later plans.

6. Maintaining a work and life balance

Particularly during your freshman year, incorporating time management into your daily routine is a little too much to ask. College is such a sensory overload, especially if you’ve never really been on your own before.  If you commit to too much, you might find yourself overwhelmed and your commitments can take over your academics or your social life.

These choices can be highly stress-inducing, and we want to help ease some of the anxiety.

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

Do it for you

Sacrifices You Must Make if You Want to be Successful

Unfortunately, our problems are tied to wanting to feel good in the short term.  There are many hurdles in our lives.  One of the biggest is loss aversion. We are wired to focus more on what we stand to lose than what we stand to gain.

This is one reason why becoming successful is so difficult.  Achieving the success we want is often more about what we are willing to give up than what you are willing to do. If it weren’t for the need to make sacrifices, we might all be successful. If you are willing to give things up in the short term you can win in the long-term.

When you are in college you need to make decisions on what you are willing to give up to satisfy your goal of academic success.  Some examples are:  1) Time -how much of it is necessary for studying and working.  2) Money – how much of it is necessary to stay in school and what do you need to do to get this money. 

It is your decision to make.  You either make the sacrifices or you don’t. What looks like sacrifices on the front end, turn out to be investments when you look at them in hindsight. You give away something upfront, but the reward you get is worth much more than what you gave up in the first place. Delayed gratification works.

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

You are a survivor

9 Ways Students Can Survive College

Your undergraduate years will be some of the most exciting, but frightening, years of your life. You will learn so much and you will make your share of mistakes and have to learn hard life lessons. Check out these 10 tips on how to make your college experience one of your best life experiences:

1. Successfully take notes for a difficult class

Ditch some of your high school note-taking techniques. Write your notes legibility and in ways that YOU can comprehend. Sometimes, writing a simple diagram in your notes can help you study for that mid-term, later. Do not write down EVERYTHING your professors says. The point to taking good notes it to locate the main point of a lecture and some vital details.

2. Treat your roommate with dignity and respect

When you get to college, you will have a roommate. It is not easy to share a room with a stranger. If you can, start a conversation with them and get to know them. After all, you will be sharing living space.

3. Take the initiative to meet new people

It is scary to be thrown into this world of higher academia and be expected to be sociable and get excellent grades. One way to meet people is to get involved in student-led organizations that interests you. Get involved and begin to make meaningful connections.

4. Keep in contact with your loved ones

Is so easy to get caught up in ‘the college life’ that you forget to call your family. Make time to reach out to your family and friends back home. Keeping in contact with family and friends gives you an unbelievable boost of confidence and strength to deal with college life.

5. Save money on books

College is expensive enough without overpaying for books.  Here are a few websites that will help ease the pain of buying books: chegg.com, amazon.com, Ebay .com, and half.ebay.com. If you can, rent the books you need. Buy used books. Buy your books from other students that no longer need them (look up Facebook groups dedicated to this as well).

6. Seek out job and internship opportunities

If you want to know how to get a job/internship while in college? Ask.   Your college likely has several websites dedicated to finding employment and internships. If you can’t find that awesome internship you wanted– Volunteer. Volunteer in your department of study. Volunteer as your favorite professor’s teaching assistant.

7. Ask important questions

Ask questions. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for wanting to get an understanding of something. If it is important for you to know, then have the confidence to ask all the questions you need to

8. Become comfortable with yourself

You are going to notice that you will start to change more and more while at college. Get comfortable with who you are because ‘you’ are going to be with ‘you’ for the rest of your life-so you might as well learn to love yourself now.

9. Avoid making bad decisions

Media and society will make you think that alcohol, drugs and random hook-ups make your college life worthwhile. Avoid anything and anyone that threatens to deter your college career. Think about this; if you didn’t do ‘that’ before you got to college, chances are you don’t need to do ‘that’ while you’re in college.

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

Could money derail your college goals?

Before your money situation becomes a problem, do some work that will help you to avoid the stress that low cash will cause in your life. 

This week, you should consider the following:

Creating a budget will help you to achieve your goals.

Finding a bank or credit union will help you to manage your money with services like checking accounts, savings accounts, and access to cash through ATMs.  It would be ideal to select an institution that offers free checking, accounts that do not require minimum balances and pay interest.

Applying for grants and scholarships, because they do not have to be repaid. 

Applying for low-cost loans.  Make sure you read the fine print.  There is a difference in loans from subsidized (government pays interest while you are in school) and unsubsidized (you pay the interest while you are in school).  You may be approved for more money than you need.  Be careful of this as you will have to repay this money after you graduate.

Most college students have to work during their time in school.  You should consider working on campus, if possible.  As the people that would be your supervisors understand that you schedule will be flexible.  You will also have little commute time to work and no expense.

If you haven’t already started, saving and investing as much as you can will make the college experience less stressful.  The goal is to have about three months of living expenses saved, in the event of an emergency.

Decrease money flowing out by:

To lower transportation expenses, you may want to consider getting along without a car for now.  That will cut gas, insurance, maintenance, registration, and car payment expenses.

Choose and use credit cards wisely.  My experience has been that credit card companies prey on college students.  I would always recommend not getting a credit card, but if you have decided that you have the discipline to use a credit card it is good to realize that not all credit cards are created equally. Look for one with the lowest interest rate, longest grace period (time you get to use the money before paying interest), lowest annual fee (preferably free).  Some cards also offer rewards for using them.

Use debit cards wisely.  If you are not the type of person who records every withdraw you may find yourself overdrawing your checking account and may incur penalties.

Use ATM cards wisely.  If you find this withdrawal process easy, you will want to check your balance after every transaction so that you do not find yourself in a tight position when you need the money.

Paying off high-rate debt (credit card) can be more beneficial than having money in a savings account at a low percentage rate.

Avoiding credit blunders.  Every time you create a debt you have agencies assessing if you are a good or bad risk.  This may affect your ability to purchase a car or house in the future.

Using tax credits can also add to your bottom line.  If you are paying for college yourself, you may be able to use these credits to reduce your federal income tax.

Avoid the “let’s go out” trap.  You will be asked to go out and the cost will increase, sometimes with you not even realizing it.  Some friends will tell you that they will cover you until you have the money.  Sounds like a great idea until you realize you are already in the hole financially for next month and this month isn’t even finished!

Tracking your spending can be a real pain, but a huge help if you aren’t sure where your money is going.  It could be as simple as the amount of money you are spending for lunch, because you can’t stand the dining hall food that you have already paid for!

Examining each expense line in your financial plan for possible reductions can help you immensely.  From have BYO – bring your own movie and a dinner in your room with friends instead of going out to changing banks to one with no fees to buying snacks in bulk, any step toward reducing your money going out will help you succeed in meeting your college goals.

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/

Ten tips toward being personally responsible for your success in college

Successful students exhibit a combination of successful attitudes and behaviors as well as intellectual capacity. Sometimes, it is not about how intellectual you are, but rather how smart you are about organizing yourself and being serious about your academic success.

Successful students . . .

1) . . . are responsible and active.   It is important for you to get involved in your studies, accept responsibility for your own education, and actively participate in it.

2) . . . have educational goals.  It is important for you to have legitimate goals and be motivated by what they state  in terms of career aspirations and life’s desires.

3) . . . ask questions. It is important for you to ask questions to provide the quickest route between ignorance and knowledge.

4) . . . learn that a student and a professor make a team.   It is important to know that most instructors want exactly what you want — they would like for you to learn the material in their respective classes and earn a good grade.

5) . . . don’t sit in the back. It is important to minimize classroom distractions that interfere with learning.

6. . . . take good notes.   You need to take notes that are understandable, organized and review them often.

7) . . . understand that actions affect learning. Your personal behavior affects your feelings and emotions which in turn can affect learning.

8) . . . talk about what they are learning. You should get to know a topic/subject well enough that you can put it into words.

9) . . . don’t cram for exams.   Divided periods of study are more effective than cram sessions.

10) . . . are good time managers. You should tackle a task head-on and not procrastinate

C.A.N. is here for you to ensure that you are up to the challenges that lay ahead.  If you would like to discuss the transition to college and how C.A.N. can be of assistance, please fill out the contact us page on our website. http://www.canstudentconsultants.com/