10 outdoor workouts to enjoy this summer

Reading Time: 7 minutes Outdoor workouts are accessible, typically free, and refreshing. Try these ten activities when you want to get your nature on.

FitnessU: Ramped-up indoor cardio to get your heart pumping (Part 2)

Reading Time: < 1 minutes In part two of our indoor cardio workout series, we’re stepping it up a notch with intermediate and advanced options for those of you who’ve been doing this exercise thing for a while.

How to help students who feel like an impostor fit in and thrive

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The issue

Many college students experience the impostor phenomenon—a feeling that they got into this university or program through luck rather than ability and effort. Certain student populations are especially vulnerable: first-generation students, ethnic and racial minorities, women in male-dominated fields, and students from high-achieving families.

Why it matters

Feeling like an impostor undermines the development of resilience. It’s a barrier to integrating socially and academically with the campus community (a key to student success). “Impostor” students may see challenges as evidence that they don’t belong in college rather than as opportunities for growth.

How to help students integrate with the campus community

Group of happy students

Help grow students’ sense of belonging

Incorporate “social-belonging” messaging into communications. “The primary message is a message of growth—that over time, everyone comes to feel at home,” writes Dr. Greg Walton, associate professor of psychology at Stanford University.

How to get the message right

Connect students with similar faculty members

For example, create a way for first-generation faculty to share their stories and show that they’re available to meet with first-generation and low-income students. “The UVA web resource [below] is a great example of something that’s really easy,” says Katharine Meyer, a doctoral researcher in education policy at the University of Virginia. “The stories communicate that transitioning to college is difficult, stress and struggle are common, and that, eventually, students will connect and persevere.”

First-generation college graduates on faculty

Proactively bring students to office hours

Office hours can be intimidating. Bringing people there “communicates to students, and especially to first-generation students, that office hour attendance is welcome and something everyone does,” says Meyer.

Normalize and reframe impostor feelings

Acknowledge the impostor experience and demonstrate how to reframe these feelings and accept praise. Incorporate this strategy into RA training. “You have to practice reframing the thoughts in your head,” says Dr. Valerie Young, author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It (Crown Business, 2011).

Teacher: “Your feelings are common. You deserve to be here. In fact, I recommend that you take a more advanced class.”

Student: “Whoa, but I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Teacher: “You’re ready. Think about how much you’ll learn and what a great opportunity this is to challenge yourself.”

Recognize the value of failure

Emphasize that asking for support and experiencing failure help move us toward success.

“It’s OK to raise your hand and ask the question or say, ‘I’m not following; please explain again.’”

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The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It: Valerie Young (Crown Business, 2011)

Resources for low-income students: Let’s Get Ready

Princeton professor’s CV of failures: Princeton University [pdf]

Community and resources for first-gen students: I’m First

Find your fit on campus: New York Times

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Keith Anderson, PhD, FACHA, psychologist/outreach coordinator, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York.

Amy Baldwin, EdD, director of University College at the University of Central Arkansas; author of The First-Generation College Experience (Prentice Hall, 2011).

Adrian K. Haugabrook, EdD, vice president for student success and engagement, Wheelock College, Massachusetts.

Luoluo Hong, PhD, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, San Francisco State University, California.

Katharine Meyer, PhD candidate, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia.

Valerie Young, EdD, speaker, author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It (Crown Business, 2011).

Baumeister, R. F., Bratslavsky, E., Finkenhauer, C., & Vohs, K. D. (2001). Bad is stronger than good. Review of General Psychology, 5(4), 323–370. Retrieved from https://carlsonschool.umn.edu/file/49901/download?token=GoY7afXa

Clance, P. R., & Imes, S. (1978). The impostor phenomenon in high achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention. Psychotherapy Theory, Research, and Practice, 15(3), 241–247. Retrieved from http://www.paulineroseclance.com/pdf/ip_high_achieving_women.pdf

Cokley, K., McClain, S., Enciso, A., & Martinez, M. (2013). An examination of the impact of minority status stress and impostor feelings on the mental health of diverse ethnic minority college students. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 41(2), 82–95.

Guardian Staff. (2016, April 29). CV of failures: Princeton professor publishes résumé of his career lows. Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/apr/30/cv-of-failures-princeton-professor-publishes-resume-of-his-career-lows

Gravois, J. (2007, November 9). You’re not fooling anyone. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Youre-Not-Fooling-Anyone/28069/

Ito, T. A., Larsen, J. T., Smith, K. N., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1998). Negative information weighs more heavily on the brain: The negativity bias in evaluative categorizations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(4), 887–900.

Matthews, G. (1984). The impostor phenomenon: Attributions for success and failure. In G. Matthews (Chair), Impostor phenomenon: Research, assessment, and treatment issues. Symposium conducted at the 92nd Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.

Rose, A. J., Carlson, W., & Waller, E. M. (2007). Prospective associations of co-rumination with friendship and emotional adjustment: Considering the socioemotional trade-offs of co-rumination. Developmental Psychology, 43(4), 1019–1031.

Sakulku, J., & Alexander, J. (2011). The impostor phenomenon. International Journal of Behavioral Science, 6(1), 73–92. Retrieved from http://bsris.swu.ac.th/journal/i6/6-6_Jaruwan_73-92.pdf

CampusWell survey, June 2016.

Tugend, A. (2012, March 23). Praise is fleeting, but brickbats we recall. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/your-money/why-people-remember-negative-events-more-than-positive-ones.html?_r=0

5 tried-and-true money saving tips for students

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Get used to hearing this one—college is expensive. You’re either feeling the effects now (oh hey, double shifts at the library and attending lots of irrelevant events for free pizza), or you’ll be feeling them later, you know, when the loans go into repayment. Either way, we could all use some help keeping our expenses low and our balances high(er). Here are some tried-and-true money-saving tips that can keep college costs in check.

1. Buying new books is a rookie move

Who knew books could be so expensive? Oh, wait—we did. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy into the idea that new is better. In most cases, new is unnecessary. Go for used or even rentals, which you can get from your library for free or online at a lower cost. And don’t count out e-books. These are often more affordable and have the added bonus of being environmentally friendly. Just make sure the e-book includes all the pieces you’ll need, such as a digital access code for supplemental online content.

Before you shell out $500 for a new bio book, check out the best sites for book deals, recommended by students like you:

2. Decorating your space is an interpretive art

That picturesque collection of extra-long sheets and coordinating lampshades is lying to you. You can get just as much use out of a Craigslist desk and Grandma’s throw pillows—and you might even get more friends because of it. The point here is that your ideal room or apartment décor might be better suited for your first paycheck after graduation. That doesn’t mean you can’t make your space feel like home; you just need to be a little flexible doing it.

Shop around on sites like Craigslist and OfferUp (but make sure you’re putting safety before a good deal here because this can get weird—try to meet in a neutral, public location and take a roommate, friend, or bodyguard with you). And don’t discount Facebook Marketplace or other social media groups where students can buy, sell, and trade old stuff. Your school might have one just for students looking for the futon of their dreams. Check it out.

“My first couch was threadbare and hideous, but it was free, and a neutral slipcover made it work in my apartment.”
—Emily, fourth-year undergraduate, University of Windsor, Canada

3. Stick it out for sales

If you can swing it, hold off on buying supplies—sans the essentials, of course—for the first few weeks of the semester. A lot of stores put office, desk, and room supplies on sale after the big rush, and that means you can get a lot more goods for your green. So treat yourself to that extra-plush body pillow; your patience paid off.

4. Move beyond the microwave—or learn to cook with it

Those double XL coffees from the café add up fast, and those meal plans can be expensive. We’re talking $1,000 to $3,500 per semester expensive depending on your school, according to a 2015 NBC News report. Ouch. Many schools offer a range of meal plan options, and choosing a smaller one might save you some money. You still have to eat, though, so shrinking your meal plan goes along with expanding your kitchen skills.

Before we lose you completely, this is an awesome time in your life to learn to make some basics, like pasta, tacos, roasted vegetables, and killer quiches. You don’t even need to make peace with the oven to get going here. Check out our article on five recipes you can make in a microwave to get started.

5. Where you live matters

First year on campus? You’re probably hanging out with some roommates in a res hall. But that might not be the most financially savvy option for all four years. “Depending on where you go to school, living off campus with a few roommates could be less expensive than living in a [residence hall]. At other campuses, [residence halls] are the best value,” says Amy Marty Conrad, director of the CashCourse program, part of the National Endowment for Financial Education that helps students plan how to pay for college.

Bottom line: Do your research. The default option isn’t always the most affordable option, and you owe it to yourself to figure that out. Check with your school too—some colleges require students to live on campus for a certain amount of time. And don’t forget about the live-at-home option. It may not be your fav now, but the financial freedom you’ll have after graduation could get you closer to the life you want. It’s all about those goals.

“Bulletin boards on the school campus always offer different options for housing like renting a room, needing a roommate, [and] cheaper apartments or studios.”
—Alexander, fourth-year undergraduate, College of the Desert, California

6. Your student ID is a magical, money-saving thing

Your student ID is so much more than a close-up of your face on your first day on campus. It’s essentially gold—and it can save you some too. Businesses want your business any way they can get it, and that usually means that they’ll cut you some slack in your student years. But you have to know what it gets you, and you have to be willing to ask. Some retailers might not advertise discounts, and others might only grant them to the brave few willing to ask the question. It’s worth it to do so, even if they say no.

And remember, this applies to way more than just clothes and food. Car insurance, flights back home, and an evening at the museum are all things you can save on with proof of your student status. Use it before you graduate and take a moment of silence for all the money you save. Or don’t.

What can a student discount do for you? Check out some of the deals here.

Bonus tip: Build (and stick to) a budget

While we’re here, be sure you’re sticking to your budget by having one in the first place. It’s OK if you’re new to tracking your finances; in fact, that’s the best place to start. Try a budgeting app like Mint and see where you can make adjustments. Remember, small tweaks can mean big savings. You got this.

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Amy Marty Conrad, director, CashCourse, Denver, Colorado.

Borges, A. (2016, August 23). The 6 best sites for scoring cheap textbooks. Her Campus. Retrieved from https://www.hercampus.com/life/academics/6-best-sites-scoring-cheap-textbooks

Durand, F. (2016, September 14). 11 things we wish we had known about cooking in college. The Kitchn. Retrieved from https://www.thekitchn.com/11-things-we-wish-we-had-known-about-cooking-in-college-208283=

Jhaveri, A. (2016, August 2). 22 healthy college recipes you can make in your dorm room. Greatist. Retrieved from https://greatist.com/eat/healthy-dorm-room-recipes

Krrb. (n.d.). 37 money saving college life hacks. Blog.krrb.com. Retrieved from https://blog.krrb.com/37-money-saving-college-life-hacks/

National Endowment for Financial Education. (n.d.). CashCourse. Retrieved from https://info.cashcourse.org/#

Pack, R. (2016, July 19). 25 essential dorm room cooking hacks. Daily Meal. Retrieved from https://www.thedailymeal.com/25-essential-dorm-room-cooking-hacks

White, M. C. (2015, August 25). School meal plans convenient, costly…and sometimes required. NBC News. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/freshman-year/school-meal-plans-convenient-costly-sometimes-required-n415676

Your good-roomie guide: How to keep the peace

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Dirty coffee mugs are lodged in the windowsill, clothes litter the floor, and the ice cream you were planning to dig into after class is gone—again. Either someone broke into your space or you have a roommate, am I right?

Whether your life in your shared space is smooth and easy, filled with an occasional bit of trouble, or a near-daily battle of “this is not really happening,” we could all benefit from some tips on how to make (and keep) the peace with the people we live with. If you fall into that last category, you’re not alone. About half of all first-year college students struggle with roommate issues frequently or occasionally, according to 2009 research from the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. And that’s significant—a stressful home situation can affect you in real ways.

  • How you do in class: Roommate issues are more likely to prevent you from doing your best academic work than issues with drinking or homesickness, according to the American College Health Association National College Health Assessment (Fall 2016).
  • How you feel: Your connection with your roommate helps shape your mental well-being and your ability to adjust at college, according to research published in 2014 in Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice. College students who reported frequent roommate issues had higher stress levels than those who peacefully shared their spaces, according to a 2005 study in the Journal of American College Health. There’s also data showing that poor relationship dynamics can trigger an uptick in anxiety and depression, says Dr. Amy Canevello, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a researcher on roommate relationships.

Some of the most common complaints among roommates are things we’ve all had to deal with at some point. OK, they’re also probably things we have all done at some point, including shirking basic responsibilities (like cleaning those crusty coffee mugs), snagging snacks, and showing a lack of respect for the space and the other person in it (like that time your girlfriend moved in for three weeks). Sound familiar?

So, rather than brushing things under the (unswept) rug, how can you set things up so you both feel comfortable bringing up what’s bugging you?

Dirt being swept under a rug

Start it off the right way

Yes, there is a right way. It includes making and sticking with a plan from day one. Here’s how:

1. Get together to discuss the details

“Research in many contexts tells us that people will be more likely to abide by rules that they themselves develop,” says Dr. Linda Stamato, co-director of the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. So get together and develop them. Make sure everyone chimes in on what they want for the space and agrees on the details, including what happens when rules turn into loose suggestions. Because they will.

2. Put it on paper…or Google drive

Living on campus? Your school might require that you sign a roommate agreement. Living in an apartment off campus? Yeah, you’re not off the hook either. Don’t shrug off the details here. Be clear about your expectations from the get-go. “You may think it’s obvious to clean a dish after you use it, and someone else may not. They may think it’s normal to leave a pile of dirty clothes in the corner, and someone else may find that disgusting. We are all human, so we probably will fall short on a few things once in a while, but it’s good to know that there is a standard set by each of you [that] can keep you accountable,” says Daniella C., a third-year graduate student at Emory University in Georgia and a former resident advisor.

3. Commit to communicate

Real talk: If you can figure out how to break down the awkward and talk about the stuff that bugs you early on, you’re setting yourself up for a roommate situation that works. Struggle with speaking up? Try jotting it down. “It could be helpful to make a list of your concerns that can be shared with a roommate,” says Dr. Michelle Jefferson, campus dean of students at Douglass Residential College at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Just be sure to have a plan for dealing with the concerns in person once they’ve been brought up.

Three young women chatting in lounge area

What to do when stuff goes down

You nailed down the details, made the agreement, spoke up when things were on your mind—and there’s still a problem. We’ve all been there. So now what?

First, bring it up as quickly as possible. If you don’t talk about it, your frustration will fester, and that’s a loss for everyone. Here are some ways to approach it:

Keep blame out of it

Launching into a gripe session about everything your roommate has ever done wrong means they’ll probably tune you out ASAP. You’ll do better by framing a problem as something to solve together—start off by introducing the issue using “I” statements. When you start talking solutions, use “we” rather than “you.” Feeling that everyone is responsible for improving the relationship can help all of you be more responsive, Dr. Canevello says.

Listen better

It seems so much easier than it actually is. Active listening means concentrating on and processing what someone is saying without simultaneously prepping your comeback. Take time to understand their words rather than blurting out the response that you spent the last five minutes crafting, Dr. Canevello says. And remember that most of us have good intentions. Just because your roommate is falling short on dish duty doesn’t mean they’re trying to intentionally set you off. We’re all doing the best we can, and it helps to keep that in mind when you hear them out.

Aim to understand

We overestimate our own contributions to keeping our living space clean (and peaceful) and simultaneously underestimate what our roommates do, according to behavioral economist Dr. Dan Ariely. And that can lead to some not-so-good feelings about the people you’re living with. Dr. Ariely explains that because we’re intimately familiar with the details of our own tasks (think about the smell of the moldy cheese you pulled out of the refrigerator drawer), we minimize the things that others do. And then we resent them for it. “The particulars of our own chores are clear to us, but we tend to view our partners’ labors only in terms of the outcomes. We discount their contributions because we understand them only superficially,” Dr. Ariely told the Wall Street Journal.

How can you fix it? Either change up your chores every now and then so you get acquainted with the details of their tasks or simply ask your roommates to share the gruesome details of their chores—step-by-step. Once you hear all about it, you may view them in a whole new light.

Come at it with compassion

OK, we’re not all going to love our roommates; it’s just life. But you can make a conscious choice to care about their well-being—and that can make a big difference in how you interact. “It changes how you construe problems and how you approach them,” Dr. Canevello says.

Roommates who had “compassionate goals,” or goals related to others’ well-being and happiness, were less stressed—and they gave and received greater support—than those whose goals focused on themselves, according to research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2010).

Three young men hanging out on staircase

What to do when it’s not getting better

Sometimes you just can’t solve this stuff on your own, and that’s where your RAs, counselors, staff, faculty, and others on your team come in. Reach out to them; they’re there for you, and they know how to help. Here’s what that might look like:

A third-party mediation situation

This could be an RA, a fellow student, a staff member, your dog. (Probably not that last one, though.) An unbiased third party can listen to problems and help construct resolutions. “Using mediators allows students to surface issues that they may be uncomfortable talking about directly with the person(s) with whom they are in conflict,” Stamato says.

“Roommate issues were one of the most common issues I dealt with while I was an RA,” says Samantha E., a fourth-year student at the University of North Dakota. “Almost all of my residents who ever came to me about these types of issues were able to resolve them and form a better relationship by talking it out.”

Revisit your roommate contract

Remember that? Surprise—it’s actually helpful. If yours included things such as watch Game of Thrones every night while devouring pizza, you might want to make some changes to address the stuff that keeps coming up. Talk to your RA, other staff members, or another third-party mediator about how to make it work this time around, and agree to reference it if issues come up in the future.

Know when it’s time to bow out”

Sometimes, a living situation just can’t be resolved, and you need to find new accommodations. Live on campus? Talk to your RA or resident life office about how to amicably make the switch so that everyone can live happily ever after—just not together. Live elsewhere? Read through the terms of your lease and the consequences of breaking it. You may be able to sublet your room or pay a nominal fee, both of which can be a worthy exchange for peace of mind.

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Article sources

Amy Canevello, PhD, assistant professor, department of psychological sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Michelle Jefferson, PhD, campus dean of students, Douglass Residential College, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Linda Stamato, PhD, co-director, the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

American College Health Association. (2016). American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Executive Summary, Spring 2016. Hanover, MD: American College Health Association.

Ariely, D. (2017, April 12). When chores go unappreciated. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-chores-go-unappreciated-1492017015

Crocker, J., Canevello, A., & Breines, J. G. (2010). Interpersonal goals and change in anxiety and dysphoria in first-semester college students. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(6), 1009–1024. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/44642305_Interpersonal_Goals_and_Change_in_Anxiety_and_Dysphoria_in_First-Semester_College_Students

Dusselier, L., Dunn, B., Wang, Y., Shelley, M. C., et al. (2005). Personal, health, academic, and environmental predictors of stress for residence hall students. Journal of American College Health, 54(1), 15–24.

Erb, S. E., Renshaw, K. D., Short, J. L., & Pollard, J. W. (2014). The importance of college roommate relationships: A review and systematic conceptualization. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 51(1), 43–55. Retrieved from https://mason.gmu.edu/~jshort/Erb%20Roommate%20Relationships.pdf

Ruiz, S., Sharkness, J., Kelly, K., DeAngelo, L., et al. (2010). Findings from the 2009 administration of the Your First College Year (YFYC): National aggregates. Higher Education Research Institute, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. Retrieved from https://www.heri.ucla.edu/PDFs/pubs/Reports/YFCY2009Final_January.pdf

University of Missouri. (n.d.). How to be a good roommate. Retrieved from https://reslife.missouri.edu/roommate

Washington College. (n.d.). Roommate conflict tools. Retrieved from https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/residential-life/roommate-conflict-tools.php

FitnessU: Indoor cardio for any fitness level, any space, and any time (Part 1)

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For all of us in the western hemisphere, it’s winter. For some of us, that means cold. With most of our holidays behind us and a new semester in front of us, it can be hard to dig up the motivation to get moving. While we can’t guarantee a workout that’s as comfortable as your couch cushions, we can promise you a small-space, highly effective cardio routine for those days when leaving your home is just too much to bear. So whether you’re lucking out on some sun-soaked coast this January or curled up under a foot of snow, this workout will get your heart rate up and your sweat on—no travel time required.

This month, our trainer gives you part one of a two-part series on creating indoor cardio magic. We’re building the basics with a beginner routine that works for everyone, even if you’re just getting started.* Run through it at least once a week and come back for part two to see just how far you’ve come. You’ll be back to relaxing soon, we promise.

*Disclaimer: We love exercise, but we’re not so into injuries. You probably feel that way too. To lower your chances of getting hurt, focus on form over rep count and modify as needed. You’ve got this.

Warm-up

Whether you’re all about the fit life or just starting to get active, this warm-up will gently get your heart rate up so you can safely move on to the workout.

Workout: Building your fitness foundation

This routine will help you build up your fitness base while getting your sweat on, and it works for all levels. Remember that it’s OK to take breaks, modify moves, and lower your rep counts.

Cool-down

You did it! Take the sweat sesh down a notch and stretch everything out. This will slow your heart rate and help prevent muscle soreness.

Video content by Roger Allcroft, Certified Personal Trainer

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FitnessU: Glute-busting moves to build your backside

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Interested in building your backside? We are too, and apparently so is everyone else on the internet. There’s no shame in wanting to show your glutes some love—strong glutes mean you can jump, sprint, squat, and move with more power and lower risk of injury. So whatever your reasons for wanting to maximize your glute muscles, we’re with you. And fortunately, so is our trainer.

We’ve prepped a routine that focuses on strengthening all the muscles of the gluteal complex so you’re covered from all angles. You’ll want some weights on hand for this one, but remember that milk gallons, textbooks, or even that lone can of black beans can stand in for dumbbells. Ready to feel the burn while building up your bum? If you nodded enthusiastically (or maybe even apprehensively) hit play now. Happy squatting.

Warm-up

Prep your glutes with these three easy moves to make sure they’re revved and ready for what’s next. Some effort required; resistance band optional.

Phase 1: Functional moves that fire up your glutes

Squats, bridges, lunges—this series has it all. Grab your weights, or whatever you’re using as a stand-in, and follow along. Bonus tip: Give the moves a go without weight first to make sure your form is on point. There’s no pressure to add resistance here—these exercises work without them. Do what feels right.

Phase 2: Mat exercises that maximize the burn

Finish it off on the floor with fire hydrants and donkey kicks, which are funny names for serious moves. We’ll break it down for you so you can close out your workout with a burn.

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Metacognition: A key to helping students study more effectively

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Succeeding academically requires students to create effective study habits and develop systems that best support their goals. Yet many students aren’t clearly defining what those goals are, strategizing about the effectiveness of their current study methods, or thinking about alternate approaches.

Metacognition, or thinking about thinking, is an easy way for students to improve their study techniques and may even boost their grades, too. Researchers at Stanford University in California found that applying some of the principles of metacognition—setting goals, thinking about resources, and crafting a plan—made a difference in students’ test results. Students who thought through a study plan did better on their exams than those who did not map out a plan, according to the 2017 study in Psychological Science. They also reported feeling less stressed during the prep process.

Girl studying at computer with book and post it notes

How to help students be more strategic about studying

  • Encourage them to think about their options before making a study plan. Suggest that students list out all the methods and resources they can access and then think critically about which ones will be most helpful. “Learners should take the time to explicitly think through why they want to use each resource for learning,” says Dr. Patricia Chen, a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford and one of the authors of the study.
  • Keep lists of on-campus resources visible and easily accessible. Students often forget about school-provided resources such as tutoring services, scheduled study groups, or office hours. Remind them that these additional supports are available.
  • Suggest that they make a detailed study plan. Participants in the Stanford study were asked to plan when, where, and how they would use the study resources they identified. Suggest that your students do the same. They can make a chart that lists out the resources they’re using along with a specific plan for how to use them.
  • Help them set realistic goals. “Goal setting helps learners clarify exactly what they want to achieve and focuses them on their goal as they plan out their studying,” Dr. Chen says. Encourage students to have a goal every time they study, both a short-term one, such as learning a specific theory or achieving a specific result, and a long-term one, such as getting into a grad program or using their newfound skill on the job.
  • Remind them to keep track and keep trying. If your students are feeling discouraged by an undesired result or missed goal, encourage them to take a deeper look at their methods and ask important questions. What could they do differently to prepare? Are there other resources they could use next time around?

More ideas for using metacognition with your students: Inside Higher Ed

[school_resource sh101resources=’no’ category=’mobileapp,studentservices, studentsucess, helpdesk’] Get help or find out more Article sources

Patricia Chen, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, California.

Veronica Yan, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Texas at Austin.

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Study smart. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2011/11/study-smart.aspx

Anderson, J. (2017, May 9). A Stanford researcher’s 15-minute study hack lifts B+ students into the As. Quartz. Retrieved from https://qz.com/978273/a-stanford-professors-15-minute-study-hack-improves-test-grades-by-a-third-of-a-grade/

Artino, A. R. (2012). Academic self-efficacy: From educational theory to instructional practice. Perspectives on Medical Education, 1(2), 76–85. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3540350/

Chen, P., Chavez, O., Ong, D. C., & Gunderson, B. (2017). Strategic resource use for learning: A self-administered intervention that guides self-reflection on effective resource use enhances academic performance. Psychological Science, 28(6), 774–785. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797617696456

Dartmouth College. (2001). Memory is learning that persists. Retrieved from https://students.dartmouth.edu/academic-skills/sites/students_academic_skills.prod/files/students_academic_skills/wysiwyg/retain_information.pdf.

Tanner, K. D. (2012). Promoting student metacognition. CBE Life Sciences Education, 11(2), 113–120. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3366894/

With someone who drank too much? How you can help

Reading Time: 10 minutes Follow these four steps if you’re with someone who drank too much, and when in doubt call 911.

Your good-roomie guide: How to keep the peace

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Dirty coffee mugs are lodged in the windowsill, clothes litter the floor, and the ice cream you were planning to dig into after class is gone—again. Either someone broke into your space or you have a roommate, am I right?

Whether your life in your shared space is smooth and easy, filled with an occasional bit of trouble, or a near-daily battle of “this is not really happening,” we could all benefit from some tips on how to make (and keep) the peace with the people we live with. If you fall into that last category, you’re not alone. About half of all first-year college students struggle with roommate issues frequently or occasionally, according to 2009 research from the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. And that’s significant—a stressful home situation can affect you in real ways.

  • How you do in class: Roommate issues are more likely to prevent you from doing your best academic work than issues with drinking or homesickness, according to the American College Health Association National College Health Assessment (Fall 2016).
  • How you feel: Your connection with your roommate helps shape your mental well-being and your ability to adjust at college, according to research published in 2014 in Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice. College students who reported frequent roommate issues had higher stress levels than those who peacefully shared their spaces, according to a 2005 study in the Journal of American College Health. There’s also data showing that poor relationship dynamics can trigger an uptick in anxiety and depression, says Dr. Amy Canevello, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a researcher on roommate relationships.

Some of the most common complaints among roommates are things we’ve all had to deal with at some point. OK, they’re also probably things we have all done at some point, including shirking basic responsibilities (like cleaning those crusty coffee mugs), snagging snacks, and showing a lack of respect for the space and the other person in it (like that time your girlfriend moved in for three weeks). Sound familiar?

So, rather than brushing things under the (unswept) rug, how can you set things up so you both feel comfortable bringing up what’s bugging you?

Dirt being swept under a rug

Start it off the right way

Yes, there is a right way. It includes making and sticking with a plan from day one. Here’s how:

1. Get together to discuss the details

“Research in many contexts tells us that people will be more likely to abide by rules that they themselves develop,” says Dr. Linda Stamato, co-director of the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. So get together and develop them. Make sure everyone chimes in on what they want for the space and agrees on the details, including what happens when rules turn into loose suggestions. Because they will.

2. Put it on paper...or Google drive

Living on campus? Your school might require that you sign a roommate agreement. Living in an apartment off campus? Yeah, you’re not off the hook either. Don’t shrug off the details here. Be clear about your expectations from the get-go. “You may think it’s obvious to clean a dish after you use it, and someone else may not. They may think it’s normal to leave a pile of dirty clothes in the corner, and someone else may find that disgusting. We are all human, so we probably will fall short on a few things once in a while, but it’s good to know that there is a standard set by each of you [that] can keep you accountable,” says Daniella C., a third-year graduate student at Emory University in Georgia and a former resident advisor.

3. Commit to communicate

Real talk: If you can figure out how to break down the awkward and talk about the stuff that bugs you early on, you’re setting yourself up for a roommate situation that works. Struggle with speaking up? Try jotting it down. “It could be helpful to make a list of your concerns that can be shared with a roommate,” says Dr. Michelle Jefferson, campus dean of students at Douglass Residential College at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Just be sure to have a plan for dealing with the concerns in person once they’ve been brought up.

Three young women chatting in lounge area

What to do when stuff goes down

You nailed down the details, made the agreement, spoke up when things were on your mind—and there’s still a problem. We’ve all been there. So now what?

First, bring it up as quickly as possible. If you don’t talk about it, your frustration will fester, and that’s a loss for everyone. Here are some ways to approach it:

Keep blame out of it

Launching into a gripe session about everything your roommate has ever done wrong means they’ll probably tune you out ASAP. You’ll do better by framing a problem as something to solve together—start off by introducing the issue using “I” statements. When you start talking solutions, use “we” rather than “you.” Feeling that everyone is responsible for improving the relationship can help all of you be more responsive, Dr. Canevello says.

Listen better

It seems so much easier than it actually is. Active listening means concentrating on and processing what someone is saying without simultaneously prepping your comeback. Take time to understand their words rather than blurting out the response that you spent the last five minutes crafting, Dr. Canevello says. And remember that most of us have good intentions. Just because your roommate is falling short on dish duty doesn’t mean they’re trying to intentionally set you off. We’re all doing the best we can, and it helps to keep that in mind when you hear them out.

Aim to understand

We overestimate our own contributions to keeping our living space clean (and peaceful) and simultaneously underestimate what our roommates do, according to behavioral economist Dr. Dan Ariely. And that can lead to some not-so-good feelings about the people you’re living with. Dr. Ariely explains that because we’re intimately familiar with the details of our own tasks (think about the smell of the moldy cheese you pulled out of the refrigerator drawer), we minimize the things that others do. And then we resent them for it. “The particulars of our own chores are clear to us, but we tend to view our partners’ labors only in terms of the outcomes. We discount their contributions because we understand them only superficially,” Dr. Ariely told the Wall Street Journal.

How can you fix it? Either change up your chores every now and then so you get acquainted with the details of their tasks or simply ask your roommates to share the gruesome details of their chores—step-by-step. Once you hear all about it, you may view them in a whole new light.

Come at it with compassion

OK, we’re not all going to love our roommates; it’s just life. But you can make a conscious choice to care about their well-being—and that can make a big difference in how you interact. “It changes how you construe problems and how you approach them,” Dr. Canevello says.

Roommates who had “compassionate goals,” or goals related to others’ well-being and happiness, were less stressed—and they gave and received greater support—than those whose goals focused on themselves, according to research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2010).

Three young men hanging out on staircase

What to do when it’s not getting better

Sometimes you just can’t solve this stuff on your own, and that’s where your RAs, counselors, staff, faculty, and others on your team come in. Reach out to them; they’re there for you, and they know how to help. Here’s what that might look like:

A third-party mediation situation

This could be an RA, a fellow student, a staff member, your dog. (Probably not that last one, though.) An unbiased third party can listen to problems and help construct resolutions. “Using mediators allows students to surface issues that they may be uncomfortable talking about directly with the person(s) with whom they are in conflict,” Stamato says.

“Roommate issues were one of the most common issues I dealt with while I was an RA,” says Samantha E., a fourth-year student at the University of North Dakota. “Almost all of my residents who ever came to me about these types of issues were able to resolve them and form a better relationship by talking it out.”

Revisit your roommate contract

Remember that? Surprise—it’s actually helpful. If yours included things such as watch Game of Thrones every night while devouring pizza, you might want to make some changes to address the stuff that keeps coming up. Talk to your RA, other staff members, or another third-party mediator about how to make it work this time around, and agree to reference it if issues come up in the future.

Know when it’s time to bow out

Sometimes, a living situation just can’t be resolved, and you need to find new accommodations. Live on campus? Talk to your RA or resident life office about how to amicably make the switch so that everyone can live happily ever after—just not together. Live elsewhere? Read through the terms of your lease and the consequences of breaking it. You may be able to sublet your room or pay a nominal fee, both of which can be a worthy exchange for peace of mind.

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Article sources

 

Amy Canevello, PhD, assistant professor, department of psychological sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Michelle Jefferson, PhD, campus dean of students, Douglass Residential College, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Linda Stamato, PhD, co-director, the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

American College Health Association. (2016). American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Executive Summary, Spring 2016. Hanover, MD: American College Health Association.

Ariely, D. (2017, April 12). When chores go unappreciated. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-chores-go-unappreciated-1492017015

Crocker, J., Canevello, A., & Breines, J. G. (2010). Interpersonal goals and change in anxiety and dysphoria in first-semester college students. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(6), 1009–1024. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/44642305_Interpersonal_Goals_and_Change_in_Anxiety_and_Dysphoria_in_First-Semester_College_Students

Dusselier, L., Dunn, B., Wang, Y., Shelley, M. C., et al. (2005). Personal, health, academic, and environmental predictors of stress for residence hall students. Journal of American College Health, 54(1), 15–24.

Erb, S. E., Renshaw, K. D., Short, J. L., & Pollard, J. W. (2014). The importance of college roommate relationships: A review and systematic conceptualization. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 51(1), 43–55. Retrieved from https://mason.gmu.edu/~jshort/Erb%20Roommate%20Relationships.pdf

Ruiz, S., Sharkness, J., Kelly, K., DeAngelo, L., et al. (2010). Findings from the 2009 administration of the Your First College Year (YFYC): National aggregates. Higher Education Research Institute, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. Retrieved from https://www.heri.ucla.edu/PDFs/pubs/Reports/YFCY2009Final_January.pdf

University of Missouri. (n.d.). How to be a good roommate. Retrieved from https://reslife.missouri.edu/roommate

Washington College. (n.d.). Roommate conflict tools. Retrieved from https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/residential-life/roommate-conflict-tools.php

5 tried-and-true money saving tips for students

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Get used to hearing this one—college is expensive. You’re either feeling the effects now (oh hey, double shifts at the library and attending lots of irrelevant events for free pizza), or you’ll be feeling them later, you know, when the loans go into repayment. Either way, we could all use some help keeping our expenses low and our balances high(er). Here are some tried-and-true money-saving tips that can keep college costs in check.

1. Buying new books is a rookie move

Who knew books could be so expensive? Oh, wait—we did. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy into the idea that new is better. In most cases, new is unnecessary. Go for used or even rentals, which you can get from your library for free or online at a lower cost. And don’t count out e-books. These are often more affordable and have the added bonus of being environmentally friendly. Just make sure the e-book includes all the pieces you’ll need, such as a digital access code for supplemental online content.

Before you shell out $500 for a new bio book, check out the best sites for book deals, recommended by students like you:

2. Decorating your space is an interpretive artPink piggy bank vector

That picturesque collection of extra-long sheets and coordinating lampshades is lying to you. You can get just as much use out of a Craigslist desk and Grandma’s throw pillows—and you might even get more friends because of it. The point here is that your ideal room or apartment décor might be better suited for your first paycheck after graduation. That doesn’t mean you can’t make your space feel like home; you just need to be a little flexible doing it.

Shop around on sites like Craigslist and OfferUp (but make sure you’re putting safety before a good deal here because this can get weird—try to meet in a neutral, public location and take a roommate, friend, or bodyguard with you). And don’t discount Facebook Marketplace or other social media groups where students can buy, sell, and trade old stuff. Your school might have one just for students looking for the futon of their dreams. Check it out.

“My first couch was threadbare and hideous, but it was free, and a neutral slipcover made it work in my apartment.”
—Emily, fourth-year undergraduate, University of Windsor, Canada

3. Stick it out for sales

If you can swing it, hold off on buying supplies—sans the essentials, of course—for the first few weeks of the semester. A lot of stores put office, desk, and room supplies on sale after the big rush, and that means you can get a lot more goods for your green. So treat yourself to that extra-plush body pillow; your patience paid off.

4. Move beyond the microwave—or learn to cook with itYellow piggy bank vector

Those double XL coffees from the café add up fast, and those meal plans can be expensive. We’re talking $1,000 to $3,500 per semester expensive depending on your school, according to a 2015 NBC News report. Ouch. Many schools offer a range of meal plan options, and choosing a smaller one might save you some money. You still have to eat, though, so shrinking your meal plan goes along with expanding your kitchen skills.

Before we lose you completely, this is an awesome time in your life to learn to make some basics, like pasta, tacos, roasted vegetables, and killer quiches. You don’t even need to make peace with the oven to get going here. Check out our article on five recipes you can make in a microwave to get started.

5. Where you live matters

First year on campus? You’re probably hanging out with some roommates in a res hall. But that might not be the most financially savvy option for all four years. “Depending on where you go to school, living off campus with a few roommates could be less expensive than living in a [residence hall]. At other campuses, [residence halls] are the best value,” says Amy Marty Conrad, director of the CashCourse program, part of the National Endowment for Financial Education that helps students plan how to pay for college.

Bottom line: Do your research. The default option isn’t always the most affordable option, and you owe it to yourself to figure that out. Check with your school too—some colleges require students to live on campus for a certain amount of time. And don’t forget about the live-at-home option. It may not be your fav now, but the financial freedom you’ll have after graduation could get you closer to the life you want. It’s all about those goals.

“Bulletin boards on the school campus always offer different options for housing like renting a room, needing a roommate, [and] cheaper apartments or studios.”
—Alexander, fourth-year undergraduate, College of the Desert, California

6. Your student ID is a magical, money-saving thingBlue piggy bank vector

Your student ID is so much more than a close-up of your face on your first day on campus. It’s essentially gold—and it can save you some too. Businesses want your business any way they can get it, and that usually means that they’ll cut you some slack in your student years. But you have to know what it gets you, and you have to be willing to ask. Some retailers might not advertise discounts, and others might only grant them to the brave few willing to ask the question. It’s worth it to do so, even if they say no.

And remember, this applies to way more than just clothes and food. Car insurance, flights back home, and an evening at the museum are all things you can save on with proof of your student status. Use it before you graduate and take a moment of silence for all the money you save. Or don’t.

What can a student discount do for you? Check out some of the deals here.

Bonus tip: Build (and stick to) a budget

While we’re here, be sure you’re sticking to your budget by having one in the first place. It’s OK if you’re new to tracking your finances; in fact, that’s the best place to start. Try a budgeting app like Mint and see where you can make adjustments. Remember, small tweaks can mean big savings. You got this.

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Amy Marty Conrad, director, CashCourse, Denver, Colorado.

Borges, A. (2016, August 23). The 6 best sites for scoring cheap textbooks. Her Campus. Retrieved from https://www.hercampus.com/life/academics/6-best-sites-scoring-cheap-textbooks

Durand, F. (2016, September 14). 11 things we wish we had known about cooking in college. The Kitchn. Retrieved from https://www.thekitchn.com/11-things-we-wish-we-had-known-about-cooking-in-college-208283=

Jhaveri, A. (2016, August 2). 22 healthy college recipes you can make in your dorm room. Greatist. Retrieved from https://greatist.com/eat/healthy-dorm-room-recipes

Krrb. (n.d.). 37 money saving college life hacks. Blog.krrb.com. Retrieved from https://blog.krrb.com/37-money-saving-college-life-hacks/

National Endowment for Financial Education. (n.d.). CashCourse. Retrieved from https://info.cashcourse.org/#

Pack, R. (2016, July 19). 25 essential dorm room cooking hacks. Daily Meal. Retrieved from https://www.thedailymeal.com/25-essential-dorm-room-cooking-hacks

White, M. C. (2015, August 25). School meal plans convenient, costly…and sometimes required. NBC News. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/freshman-year/school-meal-plans-convenient-costly-sometimes-required-n415676