college

How to Spend Your Summer Before Freshmen Year

How to Spend Your Summer Before Freshmen Year

Congratulations, you did it! You roughed it through four possibly awkward, possibly tiresome, and hopefully meaningful years of high school. By this time you’ve already made your decision on where you’ll be heading in the fall and whether it be near or far, you’re probably feeling something between the lines of panic and complete excitement. However, despite the possible restlessness of wanting to (or perhaps not wanting to) start freshmen year of college as soon as possible, it’s important not to wish this actually very important summer away. Here’s why:

As a soon to be college senior, I’m constantly thinking back to points in my college career and wondering how I could have done things differently. Although I don’t regret too much, I do wish that I hadn’t spent the summer before freshmen year of college wasting away and waiting for the day that I could finally move into my new dormitory. And yes, normally summers are for resting, and considering you’ve just spent the last few weeks (still are spending) preparing for finals, finishing up senior projects, stressing about prom, and anticipating graduation, you’re probably exhausted. So by all means, take a rest, but also take into consideration that this summer is the best time to discover some great things about yourself before the impending stress that college and preparing for the real world take over. With this being said, use this intermediate time between graduating high school and starting college to solidify yourself before starting the next chapter in your life.

One of my biggest suggestions is to try new things. If you’ve wanted to learn an instrument, do it now. If you have an interest in photography? Start taking pictures! Like writing? Try out all of the genres! Finding something that motivates you separate from school, work, and your social life is one of the best things you can do for yourself, regardless of what it is or how good you are at it. By enjoying something and watching yourself improve at it, It allows you to achieve a stronger sense of self-efficacy. The reason why the summer before college is a crucial time for finding or strengthening this interest is because colleges offer a haven for interests. Whether it be classes, clubs, or lectures, you’re bound to meet people who share your interests as well as having a space to take this hobby to the next level with a multitude of resources and support. So use these months to enjoy your skills or find new things you love doing because it will pay off.

Another important thing to do before starting school is spending as much friends and family time as possible. No matter how annoying your family is, you’re going to miss them more than anything in the world once college starts, especially if you’re going far away from home. And you’re obviously going to miss your friends. When you’re away at college, no matter how great of a friend you are, keeping in touch is difficult. With school stressors and trying to make new friends, it’s easy to lose touch. This summer make sure to collect as many great memories as possible. Hang out with your dorky parents, make time for your grandparents, travel with friends, and most importantly, take millions of photos! You’ll thank yourself come autumn.

Last but not least, use this summer as a time for self-reflection. The past four years of high school shaped you as a person. Consider all of your accomplishments as well as your downfalls and piece together how they sculpted the person that you are today. Learn to appreciate everything that you learned in high school, and not just the lessons that you were taught in the classroom, because they’re going to truly help you adapt in college. The way you interacted with others, how you learned to deal with stress, and anything else that challenged you made you, well, you. And soon you’re going to deal with so many other things that will inevitably shape you even more. Use this summer as a moment to take a breather and recognize yourself before things start moving too quickly again.

So kick back, try new things, make time for friends and family, and recognize yourself because this summer might be one of the last summers before taking on a lot of responsibility. Most importantly, enjoy it and never wish for time to pass faster!

Why Seek Adventure?

Defining Adventure

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The dictionary definition of an adventure is an exciting or dangerous experience. Personally, I consider anything that awakens something inside of me to be an adventure. Whether it’s completing a workout I wasn’t sure I would be able to or seeing a live musician on my bucket list- these adventures make me feel something. Feelings create memories and memories are all we really have as time passes in our lives. We all want to look back on our life and be flooded with memories that made us feel alive. That’s what adventures of all forms and magnitudes can give us.

College: Opportunity for Adventure

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It’s never too early or too late to experience life to the fullest extent. But let’s be honest- there are definitely times in our lives where opportunity for adventure presents itself more than others. College is one of those times. Time spent in college is for most, the first time they really had complete freedom.  Your parents are not knocking on your door to wake you up for class nor are they waiting for your to return promptly by your curfew late at night. Hopefully you are also given at least some freedom in what you choose to study and ultimately how you want to spend the rest of your life. If you want to take the long way home from class or work up the nerve to ask someone new if they want to spend time with you, it’s all in your hands.  You spend your time how you want to spend your time. Please, seek adventure! But do remember that college is the time to set yourself up for success in the future. Just don’t forget to truly live.

Make Your College Adventure One for the Books!

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eCampus.com wants to help college students experience life to the fullest during the time in college. That’s why we launched the Make Your College Adventure One for the Books! campaign this August. We started it off by giving four lucky college students an adventure package- ranging from a hiking package to a sporting event package during the My College Adventure Giveaway. We don’t want it to stop there. We plan to continue our efforts to encourage college students to try things out of their comfort zone. Connect with eCampus.com on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for announcements of upcoming giveaways!

Differences When Living Abroad

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Whether it be for study abroad, for work experience, or for any other reason at all, moving abroad can be both an extremely stressful and exciting opportunity in life. Once abroad you will find that many things are different and that some things that to you seem small and insignificant could be a big deal in another country. Here are five things you learn when moving abroad.

What Things Are Worth Can Be Different

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Things cost different amounts in different countries but the changes can be a lot more drastic than expected, especially if you are moving from a country with high costs like the U.S.A to a country such as Greece where the economy is struggling and prices are relatively low. It is a good idea to check conversion rates and the cost of living in the country that you are moving to in order to figure out how much you will need to spend.

People May Judge You

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Although everyone likes to think that they don’t have any predispositions towards other races, everyone has their own stereotypes and views of different cultures and races. It will be different being in a foreign country where people are not the same as you, and you are likely to be seen as different and judged based on where you are from. The liability of foreignness is a concept that says that being foreign is a liability in another country based on cultural views of what it means to be a native.

Other Cultures Aren’t Always as They Seem

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As mentioned in the previous point, you may have predispositions towards other races when going abroad. However, it is often nice to see that some of these can be completely wrong and may catch you by surprise. Although some cultural tendencies and stereotypes may come from a true place, it is important to keep an open mind as you never know how people may behave.

Actions that Seem Trivial May Not Be So

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Things that may seem small in one country, may have a much greater level of importance in others. In Europe and many other countries, check kissing upon greeting is very normalized. The amount of kisses varies from country to country and even within countries. However, this action within the United States would often be seen as an unwarranted familiarity that is inappropriate.

Things Can Mean Something Completely Different

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Signs, phrases, and actions in one country that are deemed appropriate may be completely inappropriate in others. One example of this is gift giving in India. In the United States there are not many real rules to gift giving, but if you hand somebody a gift in India, it can be seen as dirty as that is said to be the hand you use when utilizing the bathroom. The backwards peace sign in the US also means relatively nothing but is a extremely rude gesture in the United Kingdom.

There are a lot of things that might surprise you when living abroad, so do some research on the country and culture to be prepared!

Life Skills College Doesn’t Teach You

When entering the real world after college, many recent graduates are unprepared for the real world and lack basic life skills and knowledge. This isn’t always the fault of the education system or a lack of effort. There are simply some things that we need to know that we are not taught in traditional education. Rather we must make an effort to learn these skills ourselves and must ready ourselves for the real world. Here are five important life skills all students should be taught before graduating college in order to be ready for the real world.

How to Prepare for An Interview

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One of the most important aspects of the real world is knowing how to prepare for a job interview. It is important to know how to dress oneself properly and appropriately and how to behave within an interview. Although past experience and knowledge are very important in getting a job, the interview itself is how employers decide whether or not you are suitable for the job.  Before going to an interview it is of vital importance to do proper research on the company, the position itself, and the culture of the position.

How to Do Your Own Taxes

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Although many people rely on personal accountants to do their taxes for them, it is important to at least have a grasp on how to go about doing your own taxes. Everyone has to do them and by learning how to do them, you can save money by not hiring someone else to do something that you can do yourself. If you are employed and earning money you will have to file taxes. Understanding how taxes affect your income and whether or not you are being taxed too much or too little is quite important.

How to Cook Proper Meals

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In college it is possible to skate by with only knowing a couple basic meals or by relying on meal plans or the traditional ramen noodle diet that college students seem to go with quite often.  Once in the real world it is necessary to not only know how to cook for yourself, but to know how to prepare healthy meals that get you all the nutrients and vitamins that you need. By learning how to cook proper meals you can not only keep yourself healthy, but can also save quite a bit of money by cutting down on how often you eat out.

How to Manage Money

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Many college students have never had much financial freedom and have had their parents either handle their finances completely or control them for the most part. In the real world, it is necessary to keep track of what you are spending and earning in order to ensure that you have enough to make it through the month or to do the little things you want to do. Investing in a basic finance course or enlisting the help of a friend to teach you how to handle money is a great idea. It is also a smart idea to learn a little more about banking and to learn to budget expenses monthly and weekly.

How to Balance Social and Work Life

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One of the worst mistakes that recent graduates make is focusing too much on either the social or professional aspects of their lives.  Some focus wholeheartedly on work, putting all of their effort into furthering their career without leaving time for relationships and friends. On the other hand, many do not know how to focus on their work without cutting down on the social life that they enjoyed during college, and struggle to either find a job or keep up with their work life. Just because you have graduated doesn’t mean your social life needs to be over. However, it doesn’t mean that focusing on work isn’t important. It is imperative to find a healthy balance between the two.

Although it is important to enjoy college and the freedom that you enjoy, it is also necessary to learn a few life skills that are of the uttermost importance.  Doing so will help you find success upon graduating.

Books To Read In 2015

We know you’re busy writing essays, taking final exams and dreaming about summer break but if you get a craving for a good book, check out some of these popular titles that you need to read in 2015!

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Paper Towns by John Green

Written by popular young adult author John Green, Paper Towns is the story of Quentin who has loved Margo since elementary school. Unfortunately, Margo has ignored Quentin for the majority of their high school years. That is, until she shows up at his window just weeks before their high school graduation and they spend the entire night together pulling off a series of revenge-fueled pranks. Margo disappears the next day and Quentin, along with his two best friends, are determined to follow the clues Margo left behind.

While the book Paper Towns was first published in 2009, it tops our list of Books You Have to Read in 2015 because Paper Towns is coming to the big screen soon! Paper Towns is coming to theaters July 24th, 2015! Watch the trailer here.

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All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Described as “hauntingly beautiful” by The New York Times and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, All The Light We Cannot See tells the story of a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy whose paths cross in occupied France during World War II. Werner, the young boy, is incredibly gifted at mathematics and earns himself a spot at an elite Nazi training school. Marie-Laure, blinded at the age of six, has fled from Paris with her father and a highly sought after sapphire from the Museum of Natural History in tow. The story that Anthony Doerr has created is far too complex to explain in a few short sentences so to find out the fates of Werner and Marie-Laure you are going to have to read this book for yourself!

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Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Critics are buzzing about Go Set A Watchman, Harper Lee’s earliest known work. Believed to have been lost, the manuscript for Go Set A Watchman was re-discovered in late 2014. The story follows up with many of the original characters from Harper Lee’s well-known classic To Kill A Mockingbird 20 years after the story ends. Go Set A Watchman is scheduled to be released on July 14th, 2015.

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

If you loved Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, you will love this book! This psychological thriller follows our main character Rachel as she rides the commuter train each and every day into London, even after she is fired from her job. Through the train window, Rachel sees the same houses and the same people in their yards every day and begins to feel like she actually knows them. She gives the people names and imagines what their jobs and lives are like. While looking out the window one day, Rachel thinks that she sees something happen to the girl she has named “Jess”. When news stories about a missing girl named Megan (who turns out to be “Jess”) start surfacing Rachel decides to tell the police everything she has seen from the train window. Did I mention that Rachel is drunk for most of this book? That puts an interesting spin on things when an unreliable drunk shows up at the police station with information on Megan’s disappearance. The twists and turns of this story keep you guessing not only “Who did it?” but “What actually happened?” right up to the last page.

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The Residence: Inside the Private World of The White House by Kate Andersen Brower

Being the President of the United States is a tough and very public job, but what do we really know about the on-goings of the first family when the cameras are off and the world isn’t watching? In this 2015 release, we hear from employees at the White House that have been there day in and day out through ten different administrations over a span of fifty years. Written after hundreds of hours of interviews with butlers, chefs, florists, maids and other White House staffers, we catch an inside glimpse of what life was really like at the White House from the Kennedy Administration, through the days of Nixon and Reagan and the scandal-filled Clinton years, all the way up to the current first family, the Obama’s.

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Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling

Bestselling author J.K. Rowling, best known for her Harry Potter series, gave a very moving speech during commencement at Harvard University in 2008. Now available in written form, this speech doles out words of wisdom for anyone who has come to a crossroads in their life. The perfect graduation gift or perfect for when you need a boost of inspiration and motivation, Very Good Lives does not disappoint. Proceeds from the book will be donated to J.K. Rowling’s foundation Lumos, which focuses on ending the institutionalization of children worldwide. Find more information on Lumos here.

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Redeployment by Phil Klay

Redeployment, winner of the 2014 National Book Award, describes the unseen lives of an American soldier on the frontlines. Author Phil Klay is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and uses his experience in Iraq to tell a story that civilians cannot even begin to imagine as truth. This book is sure to leave you with an undying gratitude for those fighting overseas as well as a new found outlook on exactly what it takes to fight for your country.

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Readers have been patiently waiting for this debut fantasy novel from author Sabaa Tahir to be released and the wait is finally over! This novel, just released on April 28th, has been described by early reviewers as having “the addictive quality of The Hunger Games, the fantasy of Harry Potter and the brutality of Game of Thrones.” We can’t wait to get our hands on this one!

What books are on your list to read this year? Let us know in the comments!