5 Self-Care Tips To Help College Students Manage Stress

Tired and overwhelmed from all the tests, assignments, and projects quickly approaching their deadlines? It’s no question that the heavy workload in college can lead to burnout—pushing some past their breaking point. This is just one of the many reasons it’s so important to invest in self-care. So, here are five easy tips to reduce your stress and stay focused on your college goals.

1. Meditate To Stay Calm

Meditation can have a massive impact on easing stress in your daily routine. To get started, take a few minutes out of your day. Then, add up to 10, 20, or 30 minutes. Find a calm and quiet place to sit. Close your eyes and visualize your favorite relaxing, peaceful place or repeat an empowering mantra to help boost your confidence.

2. Do Something You Enjoy Every Day

What better way to take your mind off the stress of college than doing something you enjoy every day? Play a sport, join a game, take a hike, draw, paint, or find a brand-new hobby. Setting aside some time to focus on what you genuinely enjoy doing—your passion—will help you find that balance in your life between work, school and time for yourself.

3. Start a Journal and Write About How You Feel

It helps not to have all your thoughts and worries crammed into your mind with nowhere to express them. So, create an outlet to deal with all the feelings and stress that come with your college experience. Journaling can relieve mental stress and anxiety. It gives you room to breathe while keeping your most personal thoughts private.

4. Build Strong and Healthy Relationships

People with a strong support network and healthy social connections are generally healthier than those who lack these. Make plans and set aside time with your friends. Build a strong support system and spend more time with the people encouraging you to succeed. Doing this will help you feel less isolated and lonely throughout your college experience.

5. Spend Time in Nature

Going outdoors for at least an hour every day is one of the best ways to boost your mood and improve your mental well-being. Getting sunlight and taking in all of the exquisite scenery around you on a hike alleviates the negative thinking and stress that troubles you. It is always a great idea to get lost in nature.

Given the effect that COVID-19 has had on education, students experience so much more stress and pressure in their everyday lives. Using these tips can help. Take care of yourself and build a daily self-care routine that suits your needs.

About the Author

Jasmine Bryson is a freelance writer and graduate of Clemson University where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in English. In her free time, she enjoys reading YA literature, writing, and traveling. You can find her work on Medium and HubPages. Follow her on Twitter: @jasmine__bryson

Education Programs That Influence Social Change

Many of today’s young people are looking for meaningful careers that have purpose. For them, it’s not enough for jobs to be a means to pay for necessities. Ideally, their careers also serve the greater good by benefiting people while improving laws and policies. Sometimes, careers that improve people’s lives through social change do not pay as well as the private, for-profit sector, but employees engaging in careers with purpose don’t seem to mind.

7 College Programs in Social Services

Nine out of 10 people are willing to earn less money in order to perform work that is more meaningful. Here are some examples of higher education programs that teach students how to make the world a better place.

1. Sociology

Sociologists study society and how it affects individuals and larger populations of people. Possible careers for sociologists include staff positions with nonprofit organizations and local governments as well as consulting positions with technical and scientific companies.  

The average salary for a sociologist was $86,110 in 2020. Employment opportunities for sociologists are expected to increase 5% through 2030. 

2. Political Science

Political scientists study the origin, development, and operation of political systems and governments. Students learn how governments work, how political systems influence social justice, and how public policy changes can be made. Careers in political science include government politician, government lobbyist, and public administration.

The average wage for a political scientist in 2020 was $125,350. Employment of political scientists is projected to grow 9% through 2030.

3. Law

Individuals who study law learn how local and federal laws and regulations are written and enacted, and how they affect people. Some lawyers practice criminal prosecution or criminal defense. Other lawyers help clients operate within the laws of their specific industries, such as media, energy, education, copyright, environment, or banking.  

In 2020, the average wage for lawyers was $126,930. Employment for lawyers is expected to increase 9% through 2030.

4. Environmental Science

Environmental scientists use their science-related expertise, research abilities, and data-gathering techniques to monitor how people affect the environment. They study how environmental changes affect human behavior and population movements. These scientists work for government agencies and nonprofit organizations to help protect the environment from pollution and the effects of climate change.

The average salary for environmental scientists and specialists was $73,230 in 2020. Employment opportunities for environmental scientists are expected to grow 8% through 2030.

5. Education

People who pursue education for their career field play a crucial role in shaping the lives of young people. Careers in education include K-12 (kindergarten through high school) teachers, college professors, school principals, and other administrators and tutors. These professions help inspire children and young adults to become lifelong learners. The current teacher shortage means youngsters in school and adults who want to further their education to improve their employment status may not be able to receive the attention they might require

In 2020, the average salary for kindergarten teachers was $57,860, the average salary for elementary school teachers was $60,940 and the average high school teacher’s salary was $62,870. Employment for K-12 teachers is projected to increase 7-8% through 2030.

6. Social Work

Social workers specialize in how social policies and programs impact individuals, especially those who are financially, socially, or mentally disadvantaged. They help individuals, families, and groups of people solve problems and cope with challenging situations in their everyday lives. Social workers become community activists and counselors. 

The average salary for social workers was $51,760 in 2020. Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 12% through 2030, which is greater than many other occupations.

7. Psychology

Psychologists study human behavior to determine why people behave in a particular manner in order to better connect, communicate and motivate individuals or general populations. Psychologists become mental health, behavior, and drug abuse therapists and counselors for individuals, couples, families and children.

The average salary for psychologists was $82,180 in 2020. Employment for psychologists is expected to grow 8% through 2030.

Conscientious young adults who want to improve their local communities and make their municipal, state, and federal systems work more efficiently have several career paths available in the human services fields. See the accompanying resource, by the Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland, to learn more.

This infographic was created by the Do Good Institute, earn your certificate in nonprofit management

Why Your College Major Doesn’t Matter

I studied pre-med for exactly one year before I realized that my life plan wasn’t as solid as I had hoped. By the end of my first year, I’d failed two classes, had several breakdowns, and one major realization: medicine just wasn’t the path for me.

Up until the choice was mine, I thought that changing majors was for silly college students who were unfocused and underprepared for life. I thought that having to change my major after being set on my goal for so long would have been a failure.

It took a long conversation with the dean of my college and a lot of thinking to make a really tough decision: it was time for me to go home and choose a different path. So, that’s what I did; I transferred to my hometown university and decided to major in linguistics instead. It’s the best decision I could have made.

What the Big Picture Looks Like 

Whether you’ve decided on a career path for yourself or not, there is one important question you should ask yourself about your degree, “Do I want it to be useful, or do I want it to be in something I’m passionate about?”

This doesn’t necessarily have to be an either-or situation. If you’re lucky, you might be able to fulfill both of these options. But, if you’re one of those people who don’t know what they’re passionate about, or you just want to prioritize practicality over what you enjoy, you might want to choose a major like business or computer science.

On the other hand, if you just want to study something you really love, go do it. You will not be successful in a major that you find excessively boring, especially if there is another one out there that you know you prefer.

How Often Grads Actually Use Their Majors 

The number of jobs requiring a degree is steadily increasing as more and more people attend college. However, a study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that“…only 27 percent of college graduates work in a field related to their majors.”

That means that there is only a one in four chance that you will end up working in the field in which you studied. It probably won’t matter what you major in because your career path will likely be different anyways.

It’s more common to utilize your degree to support your career as extra background knowledge. In my case, a degree in linguistics might have directly translated into a role as an interpreter or teacher. Instead, I’m using it to support my career in writing with the knowledge I acquired regarding language structure.

When Your Degree Could Matter

This is not to say that your degree won’t matter, just that, more than likely, your job will not follow what you majored in 100%. However, there are times when having a certain degree will make following your path easier.

Going into medicine, for instance, is usually much smoother with a bachelor’s in the pre-med category. It’s also generally less of a hassle to enter a graduate program with a related undergraduate degree.

But, as my mom always liked to say, “So long as you get the prerequisites done, you could major in underwater basket-weaving and still go to grad school.”

The Bottom Line

More than 1 in 3 students will change their major at least once in their undergraduate career. Many things can happen in four years to pull you away from the decision you made as a freshman.  This does not mean you failed. It does not mean that you are irresponsible. And, most importantly, it is not a big deal.

Figure out what you want to do, and then, go graduate.

About the Author

Jordan is a recent graduate of the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in linguistics. She enjoys writing about her experiences and sharing her thoughts with those who might, hopefully, find them useful.

My‌ ‌Gap‌ ‌Year‌ ‌Taught‌ ‌Me‌ ‌Why‌ ‌I‌ ‌Hate‌ ‌College‌

“Stop washing plates for a second and go outside — quick, before it’s gone!” 

So, I did, peeling off my food-safe gloves into the trashcan and dashing outside into a frigid November morning. I stepped out into the courtyard of Pinkham Notch Visitor’s Center, where I worked in the kitchen, and tilted my head up at the looming Mount Washington.

Mount Washington was tinted a brilliant pink this morning, aided by the blanket of snow that perched on the mountain. Through my shivers, I smiled and sipped my coffee. 

“It’s called ‘alpenglow,’” my boss informed me. 

I’d heard of alpenglow and I had seen pictures, but I had never seen it myself. It’s way better than the pictures, by the way. 

This was the essence of my gap year: taking those things I’d only seen in textbooks or heard about in passing and putting them into the context of my own life story. Now, they they really meant something. 

This is true learning.

Backing Up A Little

I suck at school. School is both a skill and a talent. You can get good at it, and some kids are already better at it than others. It’s like, say, art.

Nobody is going to convince you that you’ll live on a steam grate if you’re not good at art, though, and I’ve figured out that school is no different. Of course, nobody will tell you that. 

When I arrived on campus, I felt immediately like the metaphorical ‘square peg.’ Far from loving football, parties, drinking, and social scenes, I was introverted with a million solitary hobbies.

I hated lecture halls. I spent hours studying and still failed exams. And nobody on the planet wanted to be friends with the grumpy blob I had become.

I felt cheated. Multiple choice exams and textbooks written by old farts failed to teach me anything. I searched desperately for any possible way to leave — study abroad, dropping out — anything. 

I hated college. 

And it felt like a crime. I should be really thankful for this opportunity, shouldn’t I? Wouldn’t people all over the globe kill to have what I have? Why did everybody else seem to look like the blissfully happy models in the college pamphlets, while I wished I could be anywhere else? 

The Pause

I stepped back and took a gap year on a leave of absence. I lived in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I explored the dead-quiet woods and hills of the New Jersey Appalachians by myself. 

I followed coyote tracks in the snow, discovered people who were a lot like me, and learned how to interact with others. I forged a tunnel through anxiety, straight to the other side. 

I learned to save my pennies for my dream, ignore the naysayers, and then pursue that dream. 

When the time came, I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. I walked from one end of the country to the other in five months exactly. On August 7, 2020, I stood on Mount Katahdin in Maine and celebrated the completion of my lifelong dream. 

And, I celebrated it next to some of my closest friends. 

The Big Difference

The adults in your life will have a way of insisting that going straight through school and then being gainfully employed is the safest, most stable, most respectable way to go. 

Allow me to respectfully, safely, and stably disagree. 

Coming back to school was a culture shock in different ways than I imagined. I already knew that school would be hard and boring, so I was relatively prepared to be frustrated and disenchanted.

What I hadn’t thought about prior to my return was the way that my attitude towards life has changed and how it significantly differs from the attitudes of my peers. 

My peers are stressed out of their minds about finding a job immediately after college. They fake confidence by talking about their internships, the clubs that they are president of, and the friends they’re going out with because they feel as though they’re competing with other college students.

They are worried about being right and fitting in. The content of the internship doesn’t matter as much as the fact that they have it to polish up their resume. And how could I blame them? That’s what everybody else is doing.

What I Learned

My gap year taught me that there are millions upon millions of fascinating things to do with life. I’m in no rush to bind myself to one thing and call it a career. I also have no inclination to do something simply because “everybody else is doing it.” 

That’s called the Hamster Wheel, and I do not intend to be on it. 

My peers are also worried about being pretty. No matter how skinny or blond or fit, no matter how big their boobs or butts, how strong their biceps, how fast they can run or generally awesome they might be, they always believe that they are ugly. 

No matter how perfect or sculpted, they’re dissatisfied that there’s not a photoshopped magazine model looking back at them in the mirror. 

Over the course of my gap year, I spent a lot of time in the mountains, stacking firewood, cutting branches, and lifting 50 pound bags of rock salt. 

Instead of a commodity, I gradually came to view my body as a strong, healthy machine. I ate when I was hungry because I needed thousands of calories. There was no room for shaming my body because it had work to do and miles to walk. 

There was no “guilty” food for me. There was no “being bad” and eating a slice of cake. In fact, I would have eaten the entire cake if you had offered it. This total acceptance of my body has continued past my gap year. I am not ashamed of it, whether I gain a few pounds or lose a few. 

Last, and most importantly, the words “I wish” are a big part of college student vocabulary. 

“I wish I could do what you did.”

“I wish, but I don’t have time.”

“I wish I could get a job in my field.” 

If there’s one thing that I learned during my gap year, it’s that you can spend your entire life listening to the people that put up barriers, or you can spend your life crashing straight through them. 

Anything, and I mean anything is possible. “I wish” is only a productive statement if you follow it with “I will.” 

I Still Hate College

And, now I know why. 

Because college encourages you to pursue stability. 

Because college is not for introverts.

Because college discourages questioning authority.

Because college only celebrates the best, the brightest, and those that succeed the very first time. 

Because college encourages complete perfection and chips away at self confidence.

I am not advocating for dropping out of college. A degree opens doors to conversations that you might not be able to have without it. It’s a backup plan, and a credential. It’s an enormous opportunity. It’s a privilege.

What it is not is the end-all-be-all. It is not your identity, a predictor for the rest of your life, or a cap on what you can do. It is not your career and it is not a measure of your intelligence. 

I will finish my degree. I probably won’t enjoy it. My gap year taught me that it’s okay not to like college. I no longer feel the pressure to make sure it is the best four years of my life. Why? Because, life starts after college. 

The good news? You get to do whatever you want with it.

Author Bio

Renée is a current college student just trying to survive like everyone else. She writes for her own outdoors blog, The Dirt. In 2020, she thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and is always seeking more adventures to balance out the mundane Zoom classes. She can always be found covered in dirt, flour, or ink.

College Mate Notes

At College Mate, we strongly recommend gap-years, whether you take it before college, during college, or after. Our founder, Alexis Chateau, took her gap year two years after graduation and is now RVing across the desert Southwest with her cat. If you have a college story or opinion to share, pitch us!

How To Build an At-Home Gym for Under $500 That All Fits in the Broom Closet

Before COVID-19, I went to the gym faithfully at least once per week. When the weather was good and I had extra time, I also went hiking or biking. If I traveled, I relied on snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and other outdoor activities to keep me in good shape. In early March, however, I decided to put a pause on my gym attendance. It was just as well because a few days later, my gym closed.

Since then, I have done my absolute best to stay in shape and stay active, while remaining socially distanced from other people. The whole setup cost me less than $500 and it might cost you even less if you have some equipment beforehand or you’re willing to thrift shop.

Yoga Mat – $20

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The cheapest thing you’ll find on this list is yoga mats. There are thousands of exercises you can do using a yoga mat, even when you take actual yoga off the list. If you need to protect your floors, yoga mats also provide a cushion for some of the equipment below.

This is the only item on the list that I will insist you purchase brand-new. Sweat and other body fluids can seep into yoga mats. In the middle of a pandemic, the stress of trying to disinfect it for use is just not worth it when you can buy one online for $20 or less.

Bike – $200

As full disclosure, my bike is not new. I bought it in 2018 when I bought my first car. The car was a tiny hatchback, so I needed a bike that could fold up nicely. Unfortunately, it currently costs nearly $200 at Walmart. Back then, I bought it on sale for $149.99. I then spent roughly $50 on a better seat and better gears.

You can probably find a cheap bike by thrift shopping. Even if it doesn’t fold up, you can probably let your back seats down and install a bike mount that hangs it vertically in the closet.

Stepper – $69.49

For days with bad weather or where you just don’t feel like loading up the bike and heading somewhere, this stepper comes in handy. This folds up nicely and fits under my futon sofa. The resistance bands coupled with the hydraulic steps provide a decent workout. You start to build up a sweat after about 10 minutes if you use both features simultaneously.

It can get boring though, so try switching it up. You can use other machines with this one during your workout or do some other workouts on your yoga mat. You can also find special steppers built for use while sitting. These help you get your steps in while working at your desk.

Wonder Core – $127.76

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The first time I used this thing, I felt that I had wasted my money. I didn’t build up a sweat like I did with the stepper and the exercises were almost too easy. It also took me some time to get used to doing situps that required leaning on the bars, with such a big space in the middle.

The following morning, I woke up with my abs on fire. They hurt for three days, which is longer than the gym equipment every achieved. It comes with a booklet with several exercises and a DVD that provides hundreds more. That makes it harder to tire of.

Nintendo Wii – $82.75

In 2012, Statista estimated that almost a quarter of American households had a Wii console. I bought mine used around that time and brought it with me from Jamaica to America. These units can be expensive brand-new, but I have seen full Wii systems selling for $40 or less. Some even come with games. Even when they don’t, choose wisely and grab one or two for the last $42 of your budget.

I realized Wii can work up a sweat when I used to play at my friend’s house in college. I always had to bring a change of clothes when we played. Currently, I have two games and they work well for me. Mine came with Wii Sports and then I bought My Fitness Coach separately.

Over time, you can grow your home gym to include many other items that might improve your fitness routine. However, for just $500, this is a pretty good start.

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About the Author

Alexis-Chateau-Option-C-Curved

Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.

About College Mate

College Mate is the ultimate survival guide for students. Whether you need help with school, budgeting, relationships, landing your first job, or would love to travel and see more of the world – we got you covered!

Stop Denying Your Relationship

It’s not uncommon to come across cheating in college. Everyone knows the drama: he’s been cheating on her for years. She knows but ignores it. They both cheat on each other and never confront it. It only strengthens the stereotype of the hookup culture and makes everyone questions how relationships work in college. When you’re […]

Stop Denying Your Relationship

How To Get FWD Vehicles Unstuck in the Desert — And Some Tips for Planning Ahead

Many of us dream of taking our daily drivers out into the Great Western American Desert for weekend adventures, but we have one big problem. Most of our daily drivers are no match for the desert trails.

Even the AWD and 4WD vehicles we do own are no real SUVs, and therefore, no true match for rocky and sandy terrain. So, what do you do if you head out there anyway and get stuck?

In 2019, this happened to me on a California desert road in a Toyota CHR. It took three hours to pull out my over-ambitious crossover. What would you do in this situation? Here’s the advice I received from two gentlemen on Quora.

1. Don’t Panic

So, you’re stuck in the sand on a dirt road with a front-wheel-drive vehicle? It happens — even to the most experienced travelers. “Four-wheel drive does not mean foolproof and invincible,” is a good reminder from Dieter Neth, a self-proclaimed desert rat. Once you calm down, you can then begin to think more rationally and move on to the next step.

2. Try to Back Out

“The first thing to do is actually quite obvious. Don’t dig yourself in any deeper!” says Neth. Try to get out backward by heading back in the direction you came from. Don’t overdo it, though. If the wheels don’t get any grip, stop. You might either dig yourself in further or damage your vehicle. Both of these are the exact outcomes you’re trying to avoid.

3. Consider Letting Air Out

Kai Herrmann, a professional mechanic for 15 years, recommends deflating the tires down to 15 PSI. However, Neth reminds drivers that there’s no point in doing this without the proper gear to reinflate them. Remember: it’s a long way home and you might not have phone signal. If you suspect it might come to this, purchase a 12-volt tire inflator and take it with you.

4. Do Some Digging

“Get out of the car and try to dig out the sand from underneath,” says Neth. “See how the differential is dragging in the center of the wheel tracks on the picture?”

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Photo Credit: Dieter Neth

Get that center hump away from underneath and behind the vehicle. Then, try to back out again. This is usually your best bet.

5. Provide Better Traction

Place a row of large rocks underneath the wheels, similar to an improvised track. You can also use wooden beams, such as railroad sleepers, if you have some with you for exactly this purpose. Then you try to reverse your vehicle. Usually, it will roll back a few feet, fall off the “track” and tries to spin. Stop and repeat the process.

6. Get a Second Pair of Hands

Another good option is to have someone with you who can help with the pushing. Neth adds, “This works surprisingly well and my wife did a great job at this once. She is from Northern Mexico and knows her ways around sandy roads.” If you travel alone, installing a winch might provide the second pair of “hands” you need. Ensure it is weight-rated for your vehicle.

7. Check the Road Conditions Ahead

If you really need to go ahead, check out the road conditions before moving on. If it is just a windblown ridge of sand, you might be able to dig that out of your way. But there might be more trouble further ahead. Note that if you’re in Devil’s Playground, the Mojave Desert, or anywhere in the Southern California desert, there is more of that stuff ahead!

8. Prepare for the Worst

Ideally, the best way to stay out of trouble offroad is to plan ahead. Here are Herrmann’s strong words of caution:

This isn’t a game. Going off road is a serious endeavor and it requires preparation and knowledge. Bring tools, bring extra parts, bring recovery gear, bring first aid gear, etc. Be over prepared.

Don’t go out there in your pretty little SUV with a bottle of water and some sunscreen. Build the vehicle to be able to handle the situations you’re going to put it in and bring enough gear so you can help yourself if something unplanned happens.

9. Map Routes With More Than GPS

When I got stuck, the road was no off-road trail for overlanders. It was a dirt road Google directed me onto while I was house shopping in Joshua Tree, California. This is an excellent reminder to think twice about trusting the GPS in rural desert towns. It’s also an indicator that what is a regular dirt road for desert residents in their Jeeps and pickup trucks might prove to be too much for your vehicle.

10. Call for Help

If you are already stuck and you find there’s nothing else you can do on your own, you might be able to call for help. An AAA membership or tow service additions to your car insurance come in handy here. If your phone doesn’t pick up a signal, you might need to hike back until it does. In my case, I was in a residential community and received assistance from the people who lived there.

Hopefully, you find this advice as useful as I did when I first received it. Thanks to Neth, Herrmann, and my helpful neighbors-to-be, for helping to keep us all safe on the desert roads — even if we happen to drive a pretty little SUV!

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About Dieter Neth

He is a self-proclaimed desert-rat who adventures with his wife and two dogs in the North American and Mexican deserts. Find him on Quora.

About Kai Herrmann

He has been a confirmed car nut since 5 years old and is a professional mechanic with 15 years of experience. Find him on Quora.

A College Spring Break Story: The First Time My Friends Tried Edibles

A few years ago,  me and my friends — let’s call them Tim, Bonny, and Michael — decided to take a Spring Break trip together. We debated for a few days on where to go, then finally decided to go skiing in Colorado. 

The stars aligned perfectly. My mom said she’d lend us her car. Tim’s family had a timeshare we could stay in. And, we were all in desperate need of a break.

Arriving at a Dispensary 

We got to Colorado and settled in at the timeshare. There were a few errands we needed to run, such as buying food and getting our gear. At some point, Michael suggested we visit a dispensary. 

The facility was definitely a novel experience. Weed wasn’t legal where I was from, and I had limited exposure to it. After we looked at all the options, my friends bought a few items and we left. 

I had already decided I wouldn’t be smoking weed or eating any edibles. I wasn’t against it, but I was worried that some of the medications I took daily would not mix well with marijuana.

The Drive After Dinner 

We went out to eat the first night because we were too exhausted to cook. We ate at an Irish pub that was about 20 minutes from the timeshare. 

Before we left, Tim, Bonny, and Micheal decided to try some edibles, because they knew I was sober enough to drive them home. I would like to add that at no time did they ever pressure me into doing anything. Either way, I was perfectly happy to be the designated driver. 

The drive was comical to me. They’d laugh at the mile markers along the highway. At one point, they busted a gut doing SpongeBob impressions. All-in-all, the drive wasn’t bad. However, towards the end, I noticed that Michael began to turn gray. 

The Chaos Begins 

For reasons that were explained to me later, Michael had developed motion sickness. That in itself wasn’t alarming, because it happened all the time. However, he didn’t tell me that he’d run out of Dramamine, which he took before long drives.

Weed elevates your experience, so Michael had become abnormally and overly motion sick. As soon as I parked the car, he jumped out and tried to run to the room. He only made it a few steps. To our shock, he then dropped down and puked on the sidewalk. Tim and Bonny were also high, so they freaked out and didn’t know what to do.

I told Tim to go to the room and bring the small trashcan. I then ran to the front desk and embarrassingly told them my friend had puked on the sidewalk and I had nothing to clean it up with. They said they’d take care of it. 

When I returned to my friends, Tim had put the trashcan in front of Michael and was keeping his distance. With some kind of motherly strength, I picked him up and carried him to the room, while Tim held the trashcan under him just in case. 

The Next Long Hours 

I put Michael on the floor and kept the trashcan nearby. Bonny got a cold water bottle and I tried to use it to cool him down. I noticed that Tim and Bonny were pacing the kitchen in a slight panic, so I told them to go to bed. They did.

It became clear very quickly that Michael was either not well enough or too confused to hold his head over the trashcan by himself. He had long hair with the sides shaved, so I held it back while he puked his guts out. It was disgusting.

This went on for about two hours, at the end of which, he promptly passed out. I figured he was okay, so I dragged him into the bigger bathroom. There, he could lay on the cool tile and be close to the toilet. I watched over him for another hour. 

When he didn’t look like he was too sickly anymore, I grabbed the sheet off my bed to cover him so he wouldn’t get too cold. I put a pillow under his head, a water bottle next to him, and paper towels nearby in case he threw up again. Then, I finally went to bed.

The Next Day 

I woke up in the morning with Michael laying next to me. He had become confused when he woke up in the middle of the night and apparently crawled into my bed by mistake. It was weird, but I was relieved that there was color in his face again. I left him sleeping. 

I then found Bonny and Tim making me a 5-star breakfast in the kitchen. They felt super horrible when they sobered up and realized what had happened. I honestly wasn’t bothered. They would do the same for me.

And, hey, I got a great story out of it. Michael was completely recovered once he woke up. My friends don’t remember everything, but I won’t forget that night.

A Few Last Words

Turns out weed isn’t completely harmless. I’m told incidents like these don’t usually happen, but apparently, it’s not impossible. Looking back on the situation, I’m glad I was sober and could handle everything.

Worst-case scenario, Michael could have inhaled his own vomit and died. I’m so glad that didn’t happen. We wouldn’t be the same without him.

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About the Author

Katherine Penney

Katherine Penney is 23 years old and from a small town in Arkansas. She’s new to the writing world, but very excited. Follow her humorous Instagram @writingwithkattp.

How to Start a Business From Your Dorm Room

Many college students feel that simply getting good grades and a degree from a prestigious institution is all they need to succeed in life. While Fortune 500 companies may indeed be peppered heavily with Ivy League graduates, there are just as many (if not more) unemployed people or those working low-wage jobs that also have degrees from prestigious institutions.

More often than not, those who succeed outside the halls of higher education are people who used their college years to do far more than just get good grades. In fact, some of the largest companies in the world were started in college or came out of relationships built in college. These include Facebook, Reddit Snapchat and even Def Jam records. Here are 5 tips to start your own business from your dorm room—and why you should.

1. Talk to Everyone About Your Business Idea

Starting a business requires a vast array of skill sets. There are few times in your life when you will have access to such a wide range of skilled workers as in college. After graduation, you may have to develop all of these skills yourself or hire someone for each task. In college, you may have a friend studying graphic design that can help you build a website or create marketing materials. You may have a friend studying accounting that can help you create a budget and even assist with the financial aspects of building a solid business plan.

You have access to experienced instructors that can also advise you on various aspects of building a business. At the moment, all of these people may be able to assist you for a reduced cost—or even for free. However, once you leave college, you will need to hire people to get these jobs done.

2. Develop a Core Group of Partners or Advisers

Talking about your business idea with a wide range of people will help you determine what you need to do and what resources you need to get your business up and running. If you are passionate about your idea, you may attract people who are equally passionate and want to help.

To begin with, you want to cast a wide net. When you start to have a good idea of what it is you want to do and how to get started, then you want to narrow your circle down into a small group of passionate, committed partners and advisers. Too many chefs will spoil the pot and there is such a thing as too much input.

3. Don’t Waste Time Trying to Get What You Need Until You Need It

Building a business is like overcoming a long string of hurdles. Every step brings a new problem that must be solved. There is certainly something to be said for anticipating problems before they occur, but don’t spend a lot of time and energy solving problems you don’t actually have yet. Spend each day focusing on solving the problems you have right now. That will be more than enough.

One great thing about living in the age of technology is that you have a greater ability than ever before to only get the tech tools you need without having to purchase ones you don’t. Again, make sure you are only getting what you need, when you legitimately need it.

4. Avoid Viewing the Experience as Pass/ Fail

Jeff Bezos started his first business in high school. It was an educational summer camp for 4th, 5th and 6th graders called the Dream Institute. Since the Dream Institute no longer exists, many would say that his first business “failed.” Years later, when Amazon went live, it sold books in 45 different countries within the first 30 days and was doing $20,000 a week in sales within the first week.

The question is whether Amazon would ever be the successful company it is without the experience Bezos gained from his earlier “failure.” The business you run out of your dorm room may not become the next Facebook or Amazon, but that doesn’t mean it won’t provide learning opportunities to help you become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos.

5. Set a Goal & Create a Plan for Achieving It

Say, you wanted to take a trip. Would you just get in your car and start driving? Probably not. First you would decide on a destination. Then, maybe you would consult a map app to determine how many miles it will be, how long it is likely to take, and the best route given weather conditions. You may also need to do some juggling to free up the time to take the trip, as well as budget money for it.

Chances are good that the more plans you make, the more likely your trip is to go smoothly. It doesn’t mean there won’t be hiccups along the way, but the more comprehensive your plan is, the more likely you will be to overcome any obstacles.

This is similar to building a business. The truth is, sometimes you will plan on going to New York, but end up in Georgia. In some cases, you may actually find yourself far happier in Georgia than you ever would have been in New York. When things don’t go according to plan, that doesn’t make them a failure.

It doesn’t matter if the business you start in college doesn’t become the next Fortune 500 company. It doesn’t have to be to provide a valuable experience. Remember that in college, not all experiences are valuable only if they gain you a passing grade. Some of the most valuable experiences you have may never be graded at all.

About the Author

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Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters.

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How to Land Your Dream Job After College

College students are notoriously broke and anxiously struggling to find themselves in the world outside of campus. After 3-5 years of college, many students leave drained and uninspired, and often return home to work dead-end jobs.

College mates, it doesn’t have to be this way! So many of you are talented thought leaders who deserve to be in the top tier of your field. Don’t let the draining, low expectations of those around you keep you from being successful.

Do what you love? Make the art. Write the article. Do the math. Create the invention. Mentor someone. But first, you must either find or create your dream job. So, here are a few steps to start you off on the right path.

Adopt a More Positive Mindset

Have you ever said any of these things?

  • “I am feeling so defeated and worthless.”
  • “I am the dumbest one here.”
  • “I don’t deserve to be here.”
  • “I failed again, why do I even try? I might as well drop the class.”

What do all of these things have in common? They are negative beliefs. You may often tell yourself these things on a daily basis when you’re not living up to other’s expectations of you. However, you set your own expectations and define your own worth.

If you keep poisoning your mind with those negative statements, you’ll start to believe them. They may even start to define you. So, what does this have to do with being broke?

Well, have you ever also used these phrases?

  • “If I don’t get an A in this class it’ll lower my GPA, and I won’t be able to get a job.”
  • “I have to get into graduate school or else I won’t make it.”
  • “I’ll embarrass my parents if I can’t find a job.”

All of these beliefs started from deep insecurities. Even worse, they place a lot of emphasis on external contributors to success, instead of encouraging you to find fulfillment within. 

There is often no one thing that will make or break your career, and you control what things you do to push yourself closer towards your goals, despite the odds. Many schools teach that there is one right answer, but in life that’s far from the truth. There’s never one way; there’s a million ways—if you can find (or create!) them.

Your school’s job is to educate and certify you. Everything else thereafter is entirely up to you. If making good grades just isn’t your core strength, do not beat yourself up over what others are doing in class. Don’t down yourself for not being able to learn the way a professor wants you to.

I guarantee you are amazing at something else. Instead of trying to be perfect at your weaknesses, perfect your strengths! By this I mean, find the things you are good at, and become a master at it.

Follow Your Dreams

Did you know that about 40 percent of students leave college and get hired for a job that does not require a degree? In addition to this, 40 percent of college students pay anywhere up to six-figures for an education, only to get a job extremely below their potential.

This is unfortunate, but very preventable. Students often spend their college years soaking up the material and never applying it. Then, graduation rolls around and their first look at the job descriptions for their dream job is scary, to say the least!

What do too many students end up doing?

  • Apply for easier, lower paying roles.
  • Apply for roles outside their degree field.
  • Become depressed.
  • Blame college.

But, if these people are being honest with themselves, this does nothing to help further their goals. If you are one of these graduates, ask yourself, “What do you truly want to do?” Then, formulate a plan to make it happen. If you are proactive, then this is something you should do before going to college, or at the very least, before picking your major.

Do something you love, in your field, every day. Why? You begin to feel like you already have the job. You’re doing things that someone in your position would do, and every day you become more confident in your skills.

The reason many people feel inclined to lower their hopes and dreams after college is because they realize too late that they could have been better utilizing their time. Now the bills are pouring in, and any job sounds like a dream job. Don’t fall into this trap.

The only way you will be successful and fill your bank account after graduation is if you are relentless in your pursuit. Whether you are 1 year from graduation or 1 semester, the time is now to take action.

Things take time, and just because they’re not knocking down the door to hire you, doesn’t mean they won’t later on. Don’t give up and veer off the path you really wish you were on.

Work On Your Communication Skills

Even if you are confident you have what it takes, you must then convince the recruiter via your resume and your interview. Have you been practicing the best ways to explain your skills and goals to someone else? In many schools, it is not spoken about enough, but it is so important to be an effective speaker.

Many students suffer from anxiety related to pubic speaking. Becoming an effective speaker takes practice, and you will become much more effective in the long run, if you are able to strengthen your ability to tell your story to a diverse group of people.

If you have a fear of public speaking, that is okay. You don’t have to become the next Tony Robbins. However, if you wish to become a teacher, lawyer, journalist, marketing manager, and other communicative professions, the more you work on this skill, the better. You may do this by applying the following.

  • Focus on serving. Instead of trying to please your audience, look to serve them. Believe in your heart that what you are saying is beneficial to them.
  • Silence the fears of your past. These aren’t your parents or bullies from high school; these are your peers, and they respect you.
  • Don’t memorize. Instead of memorizing a script, focus on remembering 3 to 5 key points, know them well, and let the exact wording naturally come to you.

Did you land your dream job after college? How long did it take you? What were some of the steps you followed that led you to your end goal? Or, are you still working towards that light at the end of a dark and seemingly endless tunnel? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

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About the Author

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Lauren LeGardye’s mission is to train college students and millennials to succeed in a professional environment through speech training and interview coaching at an affordable price.