Mistakes To Avoid for Undergrads Starting College

Are you about to start university? It can be daunting to jump into college without knowing much about what to expect. Here are 13 MISTAKES to AVOID for all freshers.

For yours truly, 2020 has been an unbelievably dynamic year so far.

Among other things, this year marked the commencement of my university experience as a first-year student.

University brings along with it a huge amount of lessons to be learned and I have certainly had a steep learning curve, as I am sure all the other freshers have had themselves.

The beauty of student life is that it is the first stage in life where it becomes obvious to a person of everyone carving their individual paths.

With this in mind, some of you guys might think this list absurdly obvious whilst for others it will be enlightening.

1. FOLLOWING YOUR HIGH SCHOOL ROUTINE

I am sure you know that varsity is nothing like high school.

It is an entirely setup and vibe.

This means that you will need to look at recreating your routine.

Related: 15 Major Differences Between High School and College

routine

2. books books books

No doubt you have definitely heard about the immense workload that university throws at students.

You are going to be buried by assignments, prescribed readings, and just general activities to complete.

It’s a lot to have to stay on top of.

This means that it’s easy for stuff to disappear and so you may be better off keeping all your notes central, be it in a file or online.

stack of books against a strong yellow background

3. staying up to date

Don’t get me wrong here, keeping up with the latest material is how a person ought to be studying.

The reality though is that there will come a time when you fall behind ever so slightly.

When this happens, don’t panic you will get back up to speed.

The problem with keeping up to date with all the work is when it begins to evolve into a source of anxiety and self-induced pressure.

And that ties into the next point…

Related: Power-House Productivity Strategies for Students

Related: Simple Time Management Strategies for Students

time to update

4. workaholic

The extreme to always being up to date is working ahead of the curve.

This certainly speaks to a persons work ethic and its by no means a bad thing.

Though too much of one thing is a bad thing. The same is true for being a workaholic.

The danger in being a workaholic who constantly tries to clear assignments as soon as they come in is that the work doesn’t stop.

And if the work doesn’t stop coming in then the workaholic never goes out.

Related: 15 Types of Students

burn out written on wooden blocks

5. overextending yourself

College is an amazing platform to explore a myriad of new hobbies and activities.

With this gateway into the world of experiences though comes the emphasis that must be placed on self-awareness.

You, and only you will be able to assess if you can handle the load you’re taking on.

Be conscious of the responsibilities you’re signing yourself up for.

man sitting at a desk with sticky notes placed all over his desk and face

6. not asking for help

The student community is one of the most supportive communities out there.

As students, we’re all in the same boat. Everyone has either been there, is going through what you’re experiencing, or is asking the same question as you are.

Don’t be afraid to reach out. People will surprise you with how supportive they are.

hikers helping each other climb a mountain

7. being a lone ranger

Tying in directly to the previous point, we have the lone ranger.

It’s amazing to see how quickly one can come to grips with content or concepts through the use of collaboration.

When it comes to studying and working through problems, teamwork does tend to make the dream work – just remember the previous tip above!

paper planes travelling in one direction with one jet diverting from the standard route

8. sitting in the same lecture seats

Probably one of the most exciting parts about university is being able to make a whole bunch of new friends.

There are plenty of new faces on campus to socialize with.

What I have found is that people tend to sit in roughly the same seats for their lectures.

By moving around the lecture halls and sitting in different areas you can meet many more people and build that network of yours.

On the note of moving around…

Related: What are Lectures Like?

purple and red auditorium seating

9. up & down to campus

Ok, I’ll admit that I am definitely guilty of this one.

More often than not, I’d end up heading back to my room in between lectures to relax.

It certainly has its benefits, but it can tend to be tiring.

It’s worthwhile to consider just planting yourself on campus until the end of your lectures and then head home.

man holding a skateboard walking through a plaza

10. ad hoc meals

Days in the life of a student can be long and draining.

When you get home you’re not necessarily going to feel like cooking yourself a meal.

It’s at times like this that eating out or ordering in becomes all the more appealing.

You’ll save yourself a ton of money and, potentially, time in the gym if you meal prep for the few days or even week that lies ahead.

Related: Are You Looking For Some Tasty Treats?

Related: The Student Money-Making Mindset

woman staring at her open fridge

11. no cookbook

Meal prepping requires having some recipes readily available to be made use of.

You’ll want to sharpen those culinary skills of yours as a student.

After all, there are only so many ways one can eat toast…

Related: 8 Easy Vegan Recipes to Try For Yourself

handwritten cookbook

12. grocery shopping during rush-hour

The fantastic aspect of student life is the freedom and flexibility your schedule often provides.

Times is a luxury that students really are able to soak up.

Because of this, I wouldn’t think any student would be thrilled to spend their invaluable time waiting in ques to check out their groceries.

person in motion grocery shopping

13. fashion show

Comfort is key when it comes to student living.

Slap on those sneakers, sweatpants and hoodie and head over to class.

woman fashion items: heels, dress, purse, makeup, necklaces and hat

THAT’S A WRAP

Hopefully, this little guide will help you to better prepare for your upcoming university journey.

I WANT TO KNOW FORM YOU:

Which tip did you not expect to see on this list?

8 Easy Vegan Recipes to Try For Yourself

Are you needing some inspiration to get yourself into the kitchen? Thanks to The Vegietable we need wait no more. Check out these delicious recipes!

So for those of you that have read some of my earlier posts, you’ll know that I have spoken about food a couple of times.

Related: Are You Looking for Some Tasty Treats? 

Related: 10 Critical Skills a Formal Education Won’t Provide 

The reason why is quite simple in fact: cooking a meal for yourself after a long day of books and lectures can be quite the mountain to climb.

Whilst there are tons of recipes out there on the web to try out, I have never quite managed to strike that balance of an aesthetically palatable dish whilst also keeping quality nutrition in mind.

There has been a huge uptake of the vegan diet of late and there is certainly a large amount of science out there to advocate it’s place in one’s lifestyle.

And now thanks to the culinary wizard, Michaela Kruger, who is the passionate founder of The Vegietable there are some ”easy plant-based recipes” for you to try out.

Whether you are looking for something quick & easy to whip up or wanting to flex your cooking prowess, there is definitely a dish with your name on it below.

START YOUR DAY RIGHT

Chickpea Omelette

  • 3/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp unsweetened dairy-free milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Whisk all the ingredients together to form a pancake-like batter.
  2. Pour a third of the batter into a nonstick or greased pan, on a low heat.
  3. Cook for about 2 min and add your filling.
  4. Fold over and cover with a lid and allow to cook for 5min.

I used spinach, mushrooms, vegan cheese, and tomatoes for my fillings.

Michaela Kruger
Chickpea Omelette
Photo courtesy of The Vegietable

Berry Chia Pot

  • 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Plant-based milk (or water)
  • Any sweetener (optional – I didn’t use one)
  1. Mix together in a glass or bowl and leave in the fridge overnight to soak OR you can let it sit for at least 20min.

Berry Compote:

  • 1/2 cup Frozen berries
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  1. Place berries in a pot on a medium-high heat, and simmer until
  2. Berries have defrosted. Now add the chia seeds and simmer on a low heat until it has thickened.
  3. Any extra compote can be kept in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks.

Toppings:

  • Banana
  • Granadilla
  • Berry compote
  • Pumpkin seeds

I like to mix in all my toppings with the chia pot, otherwise the

plain chia pot might be too rich.

Michaela kruger
Berry Chia Pots
Photo courtesy of The Vegietable

LUNCH HOUR

Sugar Bean Burger Patties

(6 patties)

Patties:

  • 1 cup sugar beans (tinned or precooked)
  • 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 Tbsp water)
  • 1/4 onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2-3 drops liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (+ extra for coating)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a bowl mash the beans well, leaving a few chunks for texture.
  2. Mix in all the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Separate and roll into 6 even balls. Gently press down onto some oat flour to coat it.
  4. Fry in a pan on a medium-high heat with a little oil for about 3min on each side.

To plate up I had it with vegan sriracha mayonnaise, gherkins, cucumber, tomato, and avocado. I did not use a bun but you are welcome to. Add any other of your favorite burger toppings and enjoy!

michaela kruger
Sugar bean burger patties
Photo courtesy of The Vegietable

Nourish Bowl – with peanut butter sauce

Peanut butter sauce:

  • 1/2 an onion (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 Tbsp coconut milk
  1. Fry the onions for about 5min.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Simmer until thickened.

Bowl:

  • Quinoa (pre-cooked)
  • Green pepper (chopped)
  • Broccolini (grilled)
  • Snap peas (sliced)
  • Carrot (grated)
  • Avocado
  • Hemp seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place as much or as little of each ingredient into your bowl.
  2. Add the peanut butter sauce and enjoy!
Nourish bowl with peanut butter sauce
Photo courtesy of The Vegietable

END THE DAY RIGHT

Basil Pesto Pasta

Basil pesto:

  • 80-100g basil
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp pine nuts
  • Generous squeeze lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until mostly smooth.
  2. Cook any pasta of your choice (I used wholewheat fusilli) and add a generous serving of pesto!
basil pesto pasta
Photo courtesy of The Vegietable

Lentil Dhal Curry

  • 1 large onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp masala
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and black pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cups lentils
  • 1 carrot (finely chopped)
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 800ml water + 2 stock cubes (or 1 tbsp stock powder)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  1. Heat up a large pot. Add some water or oil and place the onions in.
  2. Fry on a high heat for about 5min (stir every now and again to stop from burning).
  3. While the onions are browning, chop the ginger and garlic finely (add some salt while chopping to get a finer texture).
  4. Put the ginger, garlic, masala, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper in the pot with the onions.
  5. Add a splash of water to stop it from sticking. Stir well together to form a paste.
  6. Cook on a low heat for about 15min. (This is to build flavor, the longer you cook it the more flavor will develop)
  7. Add the lentils and chopped carrot to the pot.
  8. Then add the tomatoes, water and stock.
  9. Stir and then bring to a boil. Add the coconut milk and turn down the heat and allow to simmer for about 1 hour.
  10. (Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t stick – I like to keep the lid on for the first 50min and then take it off to reduce)
  11. Serve on a bed of rice or any other grain.
  12. You may also enjoy it by itself. Add your favorite curry condiments and enjoy!
Lentil Dhal Curry
Photo courtesy of The Vegietable

STILL FEELING PECKISH?

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Mix all the ingredients
  3. Allow 20 minutes to cook in the oven
Roasted Chickpeas
Photo courtesy of The Vegietable

Peanut Butter Bars

Bars:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 Tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 Tbsp cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds

Drizzle:

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 1-2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  1. Mix together
  2. Melt the peanut butter with the maple syrup and vanilla essence in a saucepan.
  3. Add oats, cacao nibs, cranberries and sunflower seeds.
  4. Mix until well combined.
  5. Place in a silicon or lined dish, pressing down the bar mixture to about 1cm thick.
  6. Leave in the fridge for about 1 hour to set and then remove and cut into the desired shape.
  7. Drizzle over the chocolate drizzle and eat as a snack or breakfast.
Peanut Butter Bars
Photo courtesy of The Vegietable

THAT’S A WRAP

Watch this space everyone because this up and coming talent is lining herself up for some pretty exciting things.

If you haven’t already, drop by The Vegietables’ Instagram account!

I WANT TO KNOW FROM YOU:

Which recipe are you going to be giving a shot first?

What Are Lectures Like?

It’s the talk of the town amongst students. Lectures are without doubt in a league of their own. But what is it that makes them so unique?

Gone are the days of sitting in relatively intimate classroom setups.

Transitioning to university is certainly an adjustment.

Arguably the most notable difference between uni and high school is just the sheer mass of people.

So it’s then no surprise to you nor myself that the lecture halls are going to be buzzing when you walk into them.

It’s absolutely crazy to see just how many people can be placed into a space.

It definitely provides perspective on just how minute a high school classroom is.

So let’s take it back to the very start of every class

FINDING THE CORRECT LECTURE HALL

The clock is ticking. There’s just 10 minutes before your next class starts.

Your heart is racing. Feet pounding and eye’s scanning your surroundings for the quickest route from one side of campus to the other.

Left turn, right turn, another right. No wait go back, it’s a left, not a right.

Down the sidewalk and take a sharp right, then scurry up the stairs and take the first available seat you can find.

Particularly as a fresher this is not an uncommon scenario to experience.

With the campus being as large and spaced out as it is, it is certainly recommended to wear a good pair of comfortable shoes to lectures.

Related: Major Differences Between High School and University

students rushing from one class to another

So now that you’ve found the correct lecture hall it’s time to

FIND A SEAT

Given that some lecture halls are built to take 700 ish students, you’d think the task of locating an available seat a breeze.

I mean it has to be easier than finding the correct lecture hall, right?!

Turns out that there is an overwhelming amount of individuals who prefer to sit right on the edge of the lecture benches to be able to make ‘The Great Escape’, but that part comes later.

So now that you’ve found a bench that has practically no-one placed on it, apart from the genius who decides to perform a ‘road-block’ right on the edge…

photo of a packed lecture hall from the top left corner of the room

Now is the time to

SAY HELLO

Another piece of advice is to stock-up on some ice-breakers.

I’ve found that a well-crafted ‘Dad Joke’ tends to do the trick quite well.

hello

Right so you’ve found a viable place to sit, you’ve broken the ice with your newly made friend so it is now time to

SLIDE, AND SLIDE, AND SLIDE, AND SLIDE SOME MORE

The end is in sight now and all you have to do is make it to roughly to the halfway mark and you should be set to take a seat.

Pro tip: mind your inner ankles. They tend to take a fair beating if you aren’t conscious of bench legs beneath the seating plank.

children's playground slides, bright yellow and orange

GET READY TO RUMBLE

Consider yourself lucky if you have a moment or two to catch your breath before the unrelenting pace of work begins.

This will typically be in the form of:

  • Checking your phone
  • Chatting to your mates
  • Chatting to randoms in the hopes they become your mates
  • Taking out your books
  • Readying your stationary
  • Wondering why it is exactly that you’re sitting in class (we all have our moments)

Related: 15 Types of Students

''why am i doing this'' written in chalk on a chalk board

THE RACE IS ON

There’s never been a more apt situation to use the saying ”hit the ground running” than when in a lecture.

You sure better have buckled up because the steam train (lecturer) will definitely leave you at the station if you are not on-board.

Between presentation slides that seem to disappear before your eyes and educators that speak faster than the speed of light, surviving a lecture is a commendable feat.

Related: Power-House Productivity Strategies for Students

checkered flag close-up

COMING TO A CLOSE

Now this phenomenon is one that I have certainly been intrigued by.

As a result of such, I have taken it upon myself to determine just how exactly one can measure the length of a lecture.

With countless hours in investigating this matter I have come to find the following:

The general formula for calculating the length of a lecture is given by:

Prescribed time – 5 minutes = actual length of lecture.

Despite lecturers’ best efforts, the tidal wave of eagerness for ‘The Great Escape’ amongst your fellow students will certainly override any captivating content that is being discussed.

woman sitting at a desk with her laptop and coffee and checking her smartwatch for the time

At last, we have arrived at the pivotal moment of any lecture

THE GREAT ESCAPE

Remember those streetwise persons who sat on the edge of the benches?

Yes well, when it comes time for the lecture to end, their investment of constantly allowing others to shuffle into the row pays dividends:

They are able to make a beeline for the exits.

man running through a tunnel

Those who were not able to secure an edge seat on the other hand …

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

Now lecture halls would not be built for 700 people for no reason.

They are built for 700 people to accommodate 700 people, and so you can imagine that there will be a queue to exit the premises.

With this in mind, if you weren’t able to catch your breath before the lecture, use this time of waiting as one of meditation and just breathe!

long queue of people waiting to enter a building

THAT’S A WRAP

I hope this post has helped you to reach some sort of understanding about what to expect from a lecture.

Whilst they may have their moments, come exam time you’ll be glad you attended classes.

I WANT TO KNOW FROM YOU:

What is the most comical experience you’ve had during a lecture?

10 Critical Skills: Formal Education Won’t Provide

The hard truth is that your piece of paper isn’t enough in today’s world. You have got to be proactive to get ahead in the working world.

The very nature of the current educational system amidst the digital disruption that the world is facing is a highly controversial one.

For years questions have been raised regarding the relevance of an outdated educational system in a fast-changing world that we live in.

Now whilst the educational system won’t be changing anytime soon, that doesn’t mean that we, as students, shouldn’t be aligning ourselves with the demands of tomorrow’s world.

The only thing over which we do have influence is how proactive we are in our preparation for the 4th industrial revolution.

We’ve all pointed out numerous flaws within the education system from time to time.

So let’s change the approach of that conversation and look at the things which we can focus on to make ourselves sought after, qualified professionals in the world of tomorrow.

First up on the list, is a point that ties into your mindset

INDEPENDENCE

The very nature of the structure of the educational system has been set to create a complete dependence upon it.

It creates an ‘employee mentality’ from our first day of school.

At such an impressionable age in our lives, we have a ‘toxic reliance’ imposed upon us by the educational system.

How is this so?

Simply put, the educational system is nothing more than an outdated business model.
So what can we do to solve this problem?

It’s true, likely neither you nor I will likely see any tangible change to the system in our student lives, but the system will inevitably be altered and changed.

Because of this fact, we must begin to look ahead and begin to sync the trends of the future with that of the educational resources that will need to be implemented.

leashes hooked onto fence

Piggybacking off of the last point is

CREATIVITY

As I am sure we all know, the content of our various courses can at times seem very mundane and dull.

And because the syllabus is concrete, it means that there is very little room to think outside of the box.

The flexibility of a formal education is limiting.

There is only so much room to wander before you get reigned back in and told to re-calibrate to the content of your course.

The solution to this problem is as simple as it can possibly get:
The Internet.

The vast array of free resources to consume and digest have catalyzed the speed at which we as students can process information is remarkable.

lightbulb of colouful building blocks as persons brain

The internet is a futuristic asset and so it only makes sense that we now cover the topic of

INNOVATION

Human beings, we are curious creatures.

There is an innate magnetism from deep inside us that draws us towards asking questions.

But sadly – as mentioned earlier – the modern-day educational system doesn’t accommodate this common trait of ours.

The lack of attention that is paid towards the development of complex problem-solving skills is rather alarming.

lightbulbs on stairs
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The only way to gain those problem-solving skills is through

EXECUTION

A massive shortfall in a formal education is the lack of doing.

Hands-on experience is the most valuable experience a person can ever wish to be subject to.

There is worth in studying case-studies for the sake of understanding the application of various concepts, but Id imagine that it’d be of far more relevance if students could actually live through their own case-studies.

action changes things

In terms of theory though we now need to look at

IMPLEMENTING EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES

Whatever your career path might look like, there is always going to be the need for strategy.

A formal education certainly gives a student an upper-hand when it comes to foundational knowledge, however a real-life strategy is rarely ever is as simple as ABC.

chess board with knight facing row of pawns

Speaking of careers, don’t you think its funny how we are brought up in a system that trains us up to be employees, yet rarely ever helps us to successfully

HUNT FOR JOBS

If this isn’t a red flag then I don’t know what is.

Hypocritical by nature, through and through.

Once again the point of potent dependence has to be emphasized.

This is how the system maintains it’s leash on us as supposedly independent, and qualified working professionals.

To solve this problem, we must have a heightened urgency to begin cultivating our networks yesterday!

resume on blue desk with glasses keyboard and pencil

On the topic of engaging and interacting with people, we need to look at

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

Human beings as a whole – let alone students – are social creatures.

We like to mix & mingle with each. By doing so, we build relationships with one another.

The shortfall in this regard with the educational system is that there is absolute focus placed on developing ‘hard skills’ yet none placed on ‘soft skills’.

And this is alarming because with the ‘technological revolution arrival‘ nearing, many ‘hard skills’ are going to be taken over by AI.

The need for human to human interaction in our society will never cease to exist.
Though the form in which it takes place will likely change.

two hands toucing fingertips

We’ve spoken about a lot of things that are going to change in the coming years, but we haven’t mentioned one thing that ‘isn’tgoing to change

FINANCE

Yes, there is the whole new-age concept and discussion about cryptocurrencies and so on, but the fundamental skills and concepts behind managing finances will remain true.

Firstly, being able to know how to manage your money is an imperative life-skill.

And secondly, everyone should be able to have a general knowledge of accounting principles so that they can get the high-level-overview when they talk to their accountants.

And yes obviously if you are studying a commerce degree this skill is thrown into the mix of things, but business degrees make up only a fragment of the other fields on offer for studies.

pink piggybank
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Tying into business and working with people,

SALES

This is the foundation of any business out there.

Without sales, a company will have zero revenue and subsequently go under.

So why is this crucial skill not being taught?

But sales extends way past its literal application in the business world and dives into our personal lives as well:

  • Dating
  • Watching a movie with a group of friends
  • Deciding on which restaurant to eat at

The art of persuasion and negotiation are quite simply survival skills.

4 business people in suits

On the topic of food though

COOKING

A slightly more fun and interesting one to mention.

I’m not saying that we should all come out of school in confidence that we can become the next Master Chef, but a person’s got to eat to live.

So why are there not some cooking classes or that thrown into the curriculums at school?

Related: 8 Easy Vegan Recipes To Try For Yourself

pasta, tomatoes, oil, and salt on a table

THAT’S A WRAP

I hope this gave you some food for thought to think about and open up your perspective on the way forward in this evolving world of ours.

University is here to stay for a significant while longer so the only thing we can do for now is to try and be as proactive as we possibly can.

I WANT TO KNOW FROM YOU:

What else do you think should be added to this list?

What is Student Life like During a Pandemic?

We all know that student life is different to any other kind of living. Except recently, much has changed. So what does the new normal look like for students?

This is our story.

We have often looked back at points in time and thought about historical moments.

And we have also been reminded regularly, that we are literally writing history every day.

Though I don’t think that it has ever felt quite as surreal to us as it does now.

We are the 21st-century pioneers of being students – whilst living through a pandemic

With the responsibility of being a pioneer comes the given that we will make mistakes and we will learn a lot.

Because of this, it is only fair for us, the pioneers, to document this monumental point in history and let it be on record in the history books of the time.

The wisdom that we have gained throughout this entire season of our lives has been highly beneficial to us.

It is only fair that we then pass on this new-found knowledge to prospective quarantined students from the future.

This blog wouldn’t truly be a student-blog if we didn’t touch on the subject of

STUDYING

Now is there anyone else here that came into quarantine with high hopes, and full-blown confidence in their independent work ethic.

‘’I’m going to finally be able to get ahead of all my work.’’

Does this register with anyone else?

I too felt as though this whole pandemic situation would allow for me to get a step ahead.

But as I am sure you can relate, the daily explosions of announcements on the online portals soon put an end to that dream.

The concept of online learning is certainly a great idea. Allowing students to work at their own pace and formulate their own daily schedules.

Yet with all that extra freedom comes the right hook of self-discipline.

Studying on & off throughout the day certainly puts that trait to the test.

Woman studying at a desk rubbing her eyes from fatigue

Almost as much as the

FRIDGE

I think it’s fair to say that everyone’s ‘long-distance’ relationship with their fellow fridge has significantly strengthened over the past while.

The refrigerator has become the motivation to move.

Room to fridge.

Fridge to room.

Snack.

Repeat.

Man snacking out of the fridge late at night
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On the topic of relationships,

FRIENDS

The art and journey of friendship has truly been tested & revolutionized.

A huge shift has taken place and we have all entered a largely virtual realm of connections.

It is likely that friendships have been tested, strained, diluted, faded, transformed, constructed and reinforced during this time.

Smartphone showing multiple different virtual meetings

On the point of getting stronger, we need to also look at

EXERCISE

As an over-exaggeration, there are 2 types of people in the world:

1. Those that started out with the motivation to get into their beach body.

2. Those that started out with the motivation to get into their beach body, and persisted.

On a slightly more serious note though, it’s been incredibly fascinating to observe ‘foreign objects’ being used as improvised weights and mechanisms.

Adding to that point is the emphasis that this pandemic has placed on looking after one’s body.

Self-care & awareness has become a widely adopted mindset which in the long term can only see to benefit our society.

Throughout quarantine and lockdown, it’s definitely been a thought on most peoples minds about whether or not society actually exists.

Towel, apple, water bottle, running shoes, headphones and smartphone on the floor neatly displayed
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And because of this it only makes sense that we talk a little about

GROCERY SHOPPING

This chore has seen impressive growth in fondness towards the activity.

Being one of the few ‘legal’ activities to warrant leaving one’s home, it’s been mesmerizing to see how willing certain people are to get out of the house.

Extroverts we are looking at you!

Miniature shopping trolley on a colorful background

On the note of going-out, the current fashion trends must be mentioned

CLOTHING

Acting on the recycling initiatives, various combinations of clothing have been compiled and worn.

If ever there was a time to see the true potential of one’s wardrobe, now would be that time.

Although the uptake in dressing fashion has been largely casual wear.

Reports have shown for some individuals to creatively build a hybrid appearance.

Smart + Casual = Smart Casual.

To all of our video conferencing users, you’ll know exactly what this means.

It goes without saying that these talented individuals have become masters in the art of smoke and mirrors.

Cupboard squares displaying multi colored scarves on shelves
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On the topic of class acts though it’s only fair that we recognize the commitment of our

MEME COMMUNITY

Memes are a staple in our daily diet.

It’s basically impossible to go through a day without getting your daily dose.

They are a mood booster and provide an essential release of hormones that make us feel good.

Given that we are living through quite a dull and somewhat depressing time at the moment we can be grateful for the meme makers.

With all the online classes that are happening nowadays, there is an endless variety of situations to make memes about.

It is fair to say that their production-line has been at an all-time peak.

The content is constantly being updated – it makes for a dynamic feed.

Related: How These Admins Run Their Successful Meme Page

Comedy spelt out with magazine cut-outs

The last point is the one about

SLEEP

This also seems to be one of the illusions that I cast onto myself:

‘’Now that it’s lockdown there is going to be more time to sleep.’’

And yet somehow the iconic afternoon catnap continually finds a way to evade pursuit.

Even worse are the sleeping patterns, one night is off to bed early, the next it’s pulling off an all-nighter and struggling through the new day.

I never would’ve pictured being ‘shorton time for when it came down to sleeping more.

Has anyone else been catching themselves, up at 1 am series binging or getting stuck in the YouTube trap for hours on end?

Lady watching Netflix on her smartphone

THAT’S A WRAP

These are some interesting times that we are living through. There is a whole ocean of uncharted waters to explore.

This pandemic isn’t going to be suppressed for a fair while so we might as well work on perfecting our craft: student life during a pandemic.

I WANT TO KNOW FROM YOU:

What new skill have you acquired to make student life a little more manageable?

Power-House Productivity Strategies for Students

A list of 10 Easy to Implement Strategies for getting your work done sooner. Productivity is the name. Efficiency is the game.

As a student, the primary goal is to get your degree, obviously.

Though because of the energy, curiosity, and passion that comes with the life of a student, there is constantly a whole host of other ‘distractions’ that demand our attention.

Be it society’s, sports clubs or just popular social activities in general, there are always other things in our peripheral.

This can often make it difficult for us to be able to slot everything into our daily routine.

It goes without saying that the academic side of being a student is demanding.

It consumes a large portion of our day.

But what if there was a way to get work done sooner, without compromising on the quality of the final product.

Stick around if you’re looking for ways to work smarter and not harder.

First up, if you’re looking to become more productive then understanding what productivity entails is quite a crucial step in the process.

Simply put, productivity is all about being able to destroy a mountain of work, with zero to minimal disruptions to your work-flow.

Productivity is the name.
Efficiency
is the game.

With that in mind, the first thing to do is to

KNOW YOUR GOLDEN HOUR

Between the night owls and early birds, there are plenty of hours in a day to choose from for when you would like to study.

If you are able to align the times that you like to study with the times that you – personally – are more productive then you have hit the jackpot.

Everyone is different and so right off the bat, find the formula that works for you.

tokyo, new york, and london timezone clocks

CREATE A SENSE OF URGENCY

Yes, you want to become determined and deadset on accomplishing your tasks.

There is a saying out there that goes something like:
‘If you give yourself 2 days to complete a task, it will take you 2 days. If you give yourself 2 hours to complete that same task, it will take you 2 hours.’

The fact is that without creating any sense of importance behind the task at hand, you are definitely not going to feel in any way motivated to complete it.

labelled pieces of paper NOT SURE, IN THE FUTURE, IN TIME, NOW, NEXT WEEK, etc
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Now that you’ve set yourself an admin demolishing mindset, the next part talks about

WORK .VS. PLAY

This one is definitely more of a luxury than anything else.

Personally, I function better when I can establish a separate environment for getting my work done.

The bonus here is that – if you are fortunate enough to make use of this opportunity – it can seriously help to subconsciously alert you that you are now in a ‘work environment’.

Having a conducive working environment is crucial to the topic of productivity.

It also allows for you to work towards setting up some office-orientated infrastructure like filing cabinets, bookshelves, desks, etc.

But again, it is a luxury/ privilege above anything else.

modern home-office space with desk and chair, laptop, and decorative pieces

So, you have settled into your working environment, but there’s still one thing left to do before you get going:

SWITCHING NOTIFICATIONS OFF

’’Did he seriously just tell me to switch my phone notifications off!’’

Contrary to popular belief, the world does not simply end when one decides to deactivate their notifications for a period of time.

Besides, if you are going to be hitting the books then chances are good that you won’t ‘’really’’ need your phone, especially for the social media side of things.

The #1 piece of destruction to one’s productivity is falling into the YouTube/ Instagram trap where you go on an aimless adventure for the ‘’10 minute’’ study break that you set for yourself.

And I think that is something we all can relate to – I know I’ve certainly been there before.

Great stuff, we’ve got our to-do lists in order now and we’ve set up our workspace for success, but our to-do list just seems impossible to conquer.

desk workspace with paperwork, laptop and notifcation alerts
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Where do we start?

TEDIOUS TASKS 1st

It is probably always the most difficult part about starting anything – starting.

Not to mention when you have a list of tasks the size of Mt. Everest that makes you feel like you’re going to fall off the face of the earth.

So why start with the little tasks first?

You’re going to need some momentum to get going and that doesn’t just happen. Momentum is a gradual process.

Whilst your list of objectives for the day may seem like a mammoth task, chances are good that you can shave off some of that mammoth’s fur by starting with the clutter on your list.

Related: Simple Time Management Strategies

to do list with three tasks

With the building momentum of cruising through tasks comes the danger of spreading yourself too thin.

KNOW WHEN TO MULTI-TASK

It’s an addicting feeling: juggling 3 different tasks all at once.

To be honest it can make us feel quite unstoppable.

But it’s important to be aware that multi-tasking – although effective at times – might not necessarily be the most efficient.

woman multitasking many things at once, phone call, contracts, calculations, laptop

And so, you start rolling and cruising through your work, but then you hit a roadblock

REWARD YOURSELF

If you can set yourselves some really nice incentives to work towards it can make even the most-dull of tasks a little more entertaining.

Be it a coffee break, going for a walk, watching a movie/ episode on Netflix, chilling with some friends, give yourself something fun to look forward to.

These positive reinforcements will help you to encourage yourself in the future to stay the course when working through some of your bigger items.

reward spelt on pin board with different coloured letters
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Off the back of that last point is the next, and that is to

TAKE BREAKS

I am definitely guilty of this one.

Sitting down at the desk and progressing through content/ assignments is a marathon.

Burn-out is one of the biggest vulnerabilities we face.

Whilst it may feel like your work-flow is being disrupted to begin with, as you move further into your session these breaks will become your lifeline.

relax refresh recharge

If you are on a break then don’t feel shy to

MAKE A CUP OF COFFEE

The caffeine kick from this ‘’black magic’’ – as I like to call it – always comes in handy when I start to hit a wall.

Not only is caffeine a helpful stimulant when it comes to getting through those long study sessions, but it’s also a tasty beverage.

Who doesn’t like coffee!?

Just be aware that caffeine can have adverse effects on your health so don’t go overboard on its consumption.

cappuccino in a mug

If you do find though that you are needing caffeine to wake yourself up then maybe consider trying to get

QUALITY SLEEP

The data is out there.

Having a good night’s rest in the bank for the times that you want to set a new PB for your biggest productivity session is seriously important.

And whilst it might be a bandwagon to jump onto about how little sleep you got last night, it ultimately isn’t going to do you any favors in the long term.

quality of sleep

THAT’S A WRAP

I think we all wish that there was some kind of magic recipe to just make our to-do lists vanish into thin air, but unfortunately, there isn’t.
The goal is to produce quality without over-investing into the quantity of time spent on the completion of tasks.

I WANT TO KNOW FORM YOU:

What’s your secret ingredient to getting work done?

Simple Time Management Strategies for Students

We all want to get more done. Sadly, there are just 24 hours in a day. But, what if you could get more out of those 24 hours? Learn how to make the clock work for you.

So, as we all know, the schedule of a student at university is intense.

It is action-packed and it can become quite overwhelming when it comes down to having to juggle all your commitments.

Between your academic modules, the co-curricular, personal relationships, and just overall life, it is difficult to be able to fit everything into the same day.

Now I know what you’re thinking, but just bear with me.
I am definitely not wanting to drag this topic out any more than what it needs to be. It has been labored for long enough now so I’ll try keep this read short and sweet.

The very nature of university floats around the principle of flexibility when it comes to any aspect of structure. And so, with this in mind it can be something of an art to time-manage effectively.

So, what is the first step to take towards becoming a time management wizard?

UNDERSTAND ‘BLOCK’ TIME

We all have 24 hours in a day to get stuff done.

Yet some people manage to somehow find time for way more things than others.

How do they manage this?

They understand the concept of block time.

So, what is block time?
It’s a highly generic framework for how the average person might go about their day:

8 hours for sleeping
2 hours for cooking
8 hours for classes
2 hours for social
1 hour for exercise
1 hour for getting ready (showering, dressing, etc)
2 hours to study

When you add all this time up, you get 24 hours.

Now sure, you may well have other commitments in your life that are not mentioned in the above layout, but as a general rule it’s a pretty good starting point.

If you and I are strategic enough about how we juggle this framework I am confident that we’ll identify that we have a fair bit more time than we originally thought.

The beauty of time management is that how you go about arranging it is entirely up to you.

PLAN THE NIGHT BEFORE

An obvious point – admittedly – but an essential one at that.

The first benefit of doing this is that you’ll firstly ease any form of lingering stress pertaining to the day that is to come in the morrow.

The last thing that anyone wants is to have just endured a stressful day only to then be met by another wave of stress at its conclusion.

Reducing your stress by planning the night before then also translates into increasing your chances of having some sound sleep.

And I’m sure that we don’t need to bring up the point of the importance of sleep.

There is almost no feeling that is superior to waking up on the right side‘ of the bed after a phenomenal night’s sleep.

The cherry on the cake is that by putting together a POA (Plan Of Action) for the day that is yet to arrive, is that you will be able to adjust to whatever curve ball life decides to throw at you.

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So how do I plan for the day ahead?

BUILD A TO-DO LIST

Yeah, it’s a simple and underrated tip.
Not to mention that you’ve definitely had this tip thrown at you all too many times before.

But if you think of a to-do list in the sense of baking a carrot cake, you can’t bake the cake if you don’t have the carrots.

Why?
Because they are essential ingredients in the recipe.

Much like a to-do list is for managing your time.

Having a to-do list allows you to easily comprehend the tasks which you are yet to complete.

Being able to easily digest the information from your to-do list allows you to create a visual process of sorts for how you might go about your day.

Related: Power-House Productivity Strategies

Great, I’ve got my to-do list but how do I know where to start?

TASK PRIORITIZATION

Often times to-do lists can become immense to the point where you and I just don’t want to even entertain the thought of compiling a list.

The reason why many aren’t able to successfully execute their to-do lists is because they lack direction.

This is partly to pay to the fact of not comprehending the list that they’ve built for themselves, but also because they haven’t given thought to prioritize their tasks.

By identifying which tasks can be classified as important and other less so, you can strategically structure your list to better suit your day.

Prioritizing tasks also has the added bonus of providing a heightened sense of focus.

Being able to better focus on your tasks will allow you to glide through that list of yours in no time.

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Okay cool, I’ve got my time management system in check and I am ready to jump right in.

WAKE UP EARLIER

This one is going to get a few raised eyebrows, but even just waking up 30-60 minutes earlier can make a significant difference to how much you are able to get done in a day.

There is nothing worse than having to wake-up and soon after feeling the build-up of stress.

Giving yourself just that little bit extra time can seriously help out with easing stress levels.

And if that isn’t enough of a reason in itself then getting up a tad earlier than usual gives you just that little bit of extra time to liberally explore other things of interest to you, without compromising your customized block time.

Linking to the topic of freedom is our next point and that is:

FLEXIBILITY IS KEY

Beyond the given, that life is about as unpredictable as anything else in our world.

Being flexible with your day allows you to absolutely maximize every single one of the 24 hours in your day.

If you are running a busy schedule then it can be difficult to find yourself in the situation where you literally have blocked time to get your tasks done.

A more realistic scenario is finding yourself with bits & pieces of time here & there to dedicate towards various things.

The value in identifying these segments of time is that they have a cumulative effect.

Meaning that you can complete a big task in bite sizes and thus the previously intimidating task is now not-so intimidating.

But what do I do if I still am just completely swamped with things that need to be done?

ASSESS COMMITMENTS

Have you ever felt that despite your commitment to improving your time management strategies you are just not accomplishing anything?

In this case it is probably wise to see where exactly you are spreading yourself.

Just like we prioritized our tasks, the same rule can be applied to our commitments.
Granted, it’s likely that many of your commitments aren’t truly flexible and can’t be changed but that’s just the way it’s going to be.

Let’s focus on those things that we can change.

A lot of the time the pressure we feel is self-induced in the sense that we over-commit ourselves.
If you are feeling like you are being pulled in all sorts of directions then possibly consider looking at where you are committing yourself.

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THAT’S A WRAP

I hope that these few tips and strategies for time management have been of some use to you.
The challenge is to get creative with how you will go about shuffling and organizing your time.

I WANT TO KNOW FROM YOU:

What time management strategy works well for you?
Also
If you feel like anything should be added to this list then let me know in the comments down below!

15 Major Differences between High School and College

Are you about to start college? Are you beginning your student life at university? Then this is a MUST READ article for you. Top-notch advice for new students.

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If you’re reading this then I’m guessing that you are at that stage where you are about to start university.

No doubt it’s an exciting time for you. And starting your student-life should be just that, exciting. But starting from square one – with anything – can be quite stressful and cause a fair bit of anxiety.

Not only will you be starting off from scratch, but you will also be exposed to a new environment with a completely different modus-operandi.

And that’s exactly what this post is for: to introduce to you some of the changes you can expect when graduating from high school and moving to college.

After reading this article you’ll feel more prepared and ready to transition to your new student-life.

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1. YOU’LL ALWAYS BE IN THE KNOW

This is such a revolutionary advance in your learning process:

Previously in high school your teachers would make you aware of your due dates as and when they were nearing.

You were never really aware of the road that lay ahead.

In university you can access the bigger picture, at the click of a button.

Most, if not all universities, have student-portals where students can log in with their credentials and explore the entire academic curriculum for the module of interest.

loading progress bar for update

2. CLOTHING

This is definitely one of the first advantages of being a college student.

You get to wear what you want, how you want, when you want. Nobody will look at you differently for having a unique taste in your dress-code.

The migration from a prescribed wardrobe to that of a carte blanch variety is really refreshing. Each day is something different: jeans and slops on one day, sneakers and tank tops the next.

Now I know exactly what you’re thinking: those are seriously strange combinations.

And you would be right, they are truly peculiar and ’unique’ combinations to assemble, but if there is one thing that you’ll learn pretty quickly, it’s that campus life is not a fashion show.

Remember what I was saying about nobody thinking twice about what you are wearing?!

If anything, the ultimate goal is to be as comfortable as possible because the days can be rather long at times.

And that takes us to our next point…

feet with red and white striped socks

3. LENGTH OF THE DAY

As a fresher coming straight out of high school this is quite the adjustment.

Gone are the days of having x-number of classes with 1-2 breaks in between at regular intervals. Welcome to varsity. Where a 07.30 am – 17.30 pm isn’t exactly uncommon.

OR

You can hit the jackpot. And have 2 or fewer classes in the day – sometimes none at all.

Be prepared for going from class to class, back to back with the odd break here and there…

almost empty hourglass
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4. WORKLOAD

Common sense says that if you are spending more time in class then more work will be covered.

It is a reality that you will just need to accept.

It will take some time for you to adjust. Though the sooner you can, the better.

Because you get thrown into the deep end so quickly, begin to mentally prepare yourself for this change.

You will become swamped with work. You will feel overwhelmed at times.

To counteract this, try working on creating a system – that works for you – to manage all of your admin logically.

Trust me, you will thank yourself later.

Related: Power-House Productivity Strategies

notepad& pen, iPhone, USB, stickynotes, pencils and keyboard neatly organised on tabletop

5. TEACHING

The days of sitting in a relatively intimate learning environment are gone.

A typical lecture can be upwards of 600 students at one time.

It’s busy and it’s packed. So, don’t expect the professor to explain the content in great-depth.

Typically, the lecturers will browse through the content, extract the information, and then simply highlight, and make you aware of the important sections.

The responsibility then falls upon you – the student – to go home and work through the content yourself.

empty auditorium with red cushioned seating

6. FREEDOM

Bless the f-word. It’s the word that’s been on the tip of your tongue for oh-so-long now.

It’s is such a defining moment in your life as a student, and it feels bliss.

You suddenly will ‘actually’, have choices:

  • Do I want to go to class?
  • Am I going to study now?
  • Will I be ditching my 17.30 pm lecture?

I think you get the point.

It’s great, it really is.

But with all that freedom comes a whole host of other responsibilities

orange haired man holding poster with diverging arrows going opposite directions
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7. LEARNING MATERIAL

Probably one of the biggest frustrations during your schooling career is just having to accept whatever material needs to be studied.

In college, there is such a wide variety of different courses to choose from. The keyword being ‘’choose’’.

Now I am not saying that everything you study will be butterflies and rainbows.

Reality check: there will still be content that you won’t want to study.

BUT

For the majority of the time it’ll be work that you actually may just find interesting and of some form of relevance to you.

woman having thoughts about herself in different career fields: businesswoman, nurse, chef, construction worker, doctor

8. TEXTBOOKS

If there is one thing that is going to hurt your wallet it will be this.

In high school you can buy a textbook for a pretty fair price.

University textbooks are a completely different story.

These things are expensive.

You can expect anything up to a 5x price-hike.

If you are ‘unlucky’ then it could even be more than that.

man holding bag of money near a bookshelf

9. ANONYMITY

This point in my opinion is actually one of the biggest advantages of being a student.

There’s no longer anything ‘special’ about you. You are just another face in the crowd.

So how is this exactly an advantage?

Well, for one it gives you the chance to start fresh, explore new things and meet new people.

There are endless opportunities to expand your social network and really just grow as an individual.

You get to focus on yourself.

Because of this lack of recognition, you’ll also find that this is one of the best times to try out new things because there is a somewhat impersonal nature about University.

Nobody is going to give you a hard time for failing to make a success of something new to you.

Your academics might be quite the opposite. In fact, in that area of your student-life you still might catch some flack.

blurred image of a large crowd
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10. FRIENDSHIPS

Naturally, some bonds will fade and others will form.

This is the ultimate time to create new connections with people: the majority of students are open and approachable.

Let’s be real, us youngsters are never ones to turn down the opportunity of making new mates.

Though this also bears a certain aspect of risk to it. Our so-called ‘guard’ will be let down which isn’t altogether a bad thing, but it certainly can allow for the opportunity for toxic relationships to brew.

So, I’m not saying you should do a full CIA-style background check on a prospective friend.

Because if there is one thing that will chase people away, it’ll be this – going FBI agent on them.

Rather just be mindful that you are now in the big world and there is a minority that doesn’t always have the best of intentions.

three young adults sitting on stairs with coffee in the hands whilst posing for a selfie

11. TIME-MANAGEMENT

Wow, this is a big one.

We kind of mentioned it a little earlier as well, but it does deserve its very-own nomination.

The overall pace of life as a student is lightning quick.

You will soon reach the point where you identify that there just isn’t enough time to do all that you had wished to.

This is partly to pay to the fact that your typical day-to-day schedule is irregular. There isn’t any ‘’one size fits all’’ schedule.

What works for you on a Tuesday might not work for you come Wednesday.

It’s a highly flexible routine.

Related: Student Time Management Strategies

hand holding a digital calendar icon

12. GROUP WORK

Now in high school you definitely would have had group projects.

So, this won’t be anything new to you.

BUT

Just know that a lot of the work in university ends up being group work – out of choice.

The content is already difficult as is, so having a pal to work through the assignment with you can only help.

Also, it helps to use it as an excuse for not wanting to work and rather socialize…

multiple hands outstretched on table holding phones/ coffee mugs in a circle
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13. CAMPUS

The size of the campus is enormous.

Be prepared to walk, and walk, and walk, and walk, and walk.

Get lost.

Repeat.

Pro-tip: Google maps can be quite helpful in navigating your way around the place.

Side note: I would recommend finding yourself a comfortable pair of walking-friendly shoes, because there’s a lot of that going on at university – you’ll see!

lady looking at a global map with a notepad& pen, handbag, smartwatch, phone and credit card laid out in front of her

14. AGE GROUPS

Now school typically works in streamlining everyone according to their ages.

You move up in grades and 99% of the time everyone in your grade has the same birth year – barring 1 or 2.

University works a little bit differently. Here there is no prerequisite for how old you need to be to take a certain course.

Because of this, you can be sitting in a class with any number of varying ages.

The general baseline is typically 18, but that can then go on to any age you can possibly think of.

There really isn’t any time limit for when you can/ can’t be a student.

classroom with two young adults working at the back and an elderly working in the foreground

15. DISCOUNTS

This is definitely a favorite perk for many students.

Your degree/ course is pretty much a full-time job. So you can imagine that it doesn’t leave much time to look at getting a side-hustle.

It’s for this reason that many different companies tend to offer discounts specifically aimed at accommodating students.

As students, we don’t always have the greatest flexibility when it comes to finances.

So initiatives such as student discounts are always greatly appreciated.

The notorious ”student-budget” is a real thing so you’ll want to make sure to save money wherever you can.

-10% red discount sign
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And that’s university life, in a nutshell.

Obviously, there are plenty of other micro-differences between the 2 learning environments.

As a high-level-overview – for a prospective student – I feel like this is a good starting point.

I WANT TO KNOW FROM YOU:

Got any questions about anything – leave a comment and I’d be more than happy to help you find the answer.

Feel like I have left something off of the listleave a comment: I’m interested in hearing from you