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college advice

In college on
February 23, 2018

31 Things To Do In College Besides Party

It didn’t take me a long time in college to realize that partying was not my cup of tea. When I was a freshman, I went to a few parties, and maybe one or two more after that. I didn’t like fraternity parties, house parties, or any party.

I was a homebody, and I continue to be a homebody to this day. If you also don’t like partying, that’s okay! There are so many things to do in college that don’t require you to get dressed up or submit yourself to be grinded on by strangers in a dark room for hours. Today on the blog I am sharing 31 things to do in college besides partying!

Keep Reading, Darling

In Academics on
February 9, 2018

How To Skim A Fiction Book For A College Course

I have talked at length on this blog about the act of skimming. When I was in graduate school I began to realize that I needed to get much better at reading because I thought that I was the only one who couldn’t read fast enough. What I soon realized was that my classmates weren’t reading either, they were skimming. When I realized this I had to get better at it and then I felt the need to share that with y’all in my posts Reading With Purpose: Article Skimming 101 and How To Effectively Skim An Academic Book.

This week I wanted to focus on fiction and even nonfiction regular books. These books are way different to skim than an academic book so I wanted to cover that today.

How To Skim A Fiction Book For A College Course | Skimming is an important skill to have in college, but how do you skim a fiction book? Today on the blog I am sharing my best tips for skimming fiction books so that you can read all the books that your heart desires in college.

Keep Reading, Darling

In college on
October 25, 2017

How To Retain Members As A Student Organization

Recruitment is a big part of the growth of any organization, but once you get those members it’s just as important to keep those members. Retention is important to strengthening your organization. No organization wants a ton of turnover–it doesn’t matter if you belong to a sorority or a smaller student organization on campus–retention is important. 

Retention keeps your organization strong and helps your members get the most out of your organization. If done well, you can retain students from the time they enter your organization to the time they graduate and beyond. Retention builds strong relationships and valuable relationships well. 

In this day and age it’s easy for people to move around–which is great in some ways, but it really means you have to work hard to prove your organizations worth. What makes your organization stand out and become an important part of someone’s life? What do you bring to the table for them so that they can’t get your something anywhere else? You are pitching the value of your organization every single day to all your members. It’s so easy to just stop doing something that isn’t valuable to you–so make sure you are always showing off the value of your organization.

For today’s article, I want to share a couple of retention techniques with you to keep your members interested in the organization and excited about it as well.

 How To Retain Members As A Student Organization | Recruitment is a huge part of the student organization process, but how do you retain members once you have them? Today on the blog I am sharing how to retain the members that you recruit, and why you need to focus on retention as a student organization.

1. Be Clear About Student Organization Expectations

Depending on the size of your organization, it may require a lot of work. Even if you are a big organization, you may have pretty high expectations for your members. When you aren’t clear about those expectations from the start, it can create a ton of turnover.

Think of this as a kind of buyer’s remorse. Your member came into the organization expecting one thing from it, and then you gave them a more complicated version of that or one that doesn’t look like the sell at all. 

Think about this meme about the dancing hotdog for a second. You don’t want your organization to be a “when you order something online versus when it arrives” type of organization. You want your organization to live up to the expectations you set, which means you have to be honest.

What kind of commitments should people expect?

  • How much time should they expect to spend on the organization?
  • What are the monetary expectations like?
  • Should they expect a lot of fun events, charity events, etc.?

When you are clear from the start, you won’t catch members off-guard, and they feel more compelled to stay.

2. Get to know new members

If your organization is getting new members, get to know them. Sororities are a little easier in this regard because of the entire new member process of getting your sisters initiated, but what if you aren’t in a sorority? How do you make sure that your new members feel connected to your organization as a whole?

  1. You can assign new members to older members so they have a mentor.
  2. You can do new member socials so older members get to know new members.
  3. You can create a position in your organization whose sole job it is to be a resource to new members (you get to decide how long that new member process lasts.)

Make sure your new members feel included in your organization, because if you recruit them and don’t retain them you will be right back at square one.

Extra Tip

Sometimes you need to do this even when you don’t have new members. Pairing up your members might be a good way for members to get to know people they wouldn’t normally get to know.

3. Create a suggestion survey or box

Sometimes it’s much easier for someone to suggest something in an anonymous way.

Open a suggestion box and have your officers go through those suggestions and implement things regularly. Not only should you implement things regularly, though, you should let your members know exactly where you got the idea you are implementing. If you pulled a comment from the suggestions box and decided to implement that activity, let your organization members know. This way, people feel like you are hearing and understanding the information they share with you.

The organization shouldn’t be just a product of the officer team, but a product of your whole organization so you should always take what others say into consideration.

4. Make events fun, not mandatory

Having an active membership is important, but your members cannot eat sleep and breathe your organization. Things come up, so instead of making every event mandatory–make every event fun.

Too many mandatory events will put a damper in the calendars of your members and they might decide that your organization is too much for them. Instead make events fun and exciting to go to and offer incentives.

  • Have a themed meeting (pajama day, costume day for Halloween, Disney, Wild Wild West, you name it!)
  • Offer a prize to the person who comes to the most events in a month
  • Have fun socials and mixers

Keep things exciting and appreciate those who come to a lot of things, but don’t make your whole calendar mandatory to get participation. Be understanding of people’s lives.

Focus On Quality Not Quantity

When it comes to meetings, you don’t have to have all the meetings to be a successful organization. Focus on making sure that all the events you host as an organization are quality events. Don’t host an event just because you haven’t hosted one in a while. Keep your members posted and wait until you can create a quality event for your organization.

5. Reach out to those who may be slipping

Sometimes you have members on the edge of quitting. If you can identify those members–reach out! You never know how much meaning a simple “love you and can’t wait to see you at the next meeting” text will have. Always be ready to spot those who are having a tough time and pull them back to your organization. Instead of letting those who are ready to quit, go, step in and let them know you care and want them in the organization. 

Get to the bottom of exactly why they want to leave. You don’t have to be forceful, but ask them a few questions. Is it the money? The time commitment? When you get to the bottom of why they want to leave, you may be able to offer remedies to their problems. If not, at least you tried.

6. Be open to change and opportunities

Having a stake in an organization really does increase retention rates. Make sure your members have plenty of opportunities for advancement in your organization in the form of leadership roles and general inclusion in the organization.

Start new positions on the leadership team, make sure everyone feels like they have a say in what your organization does, and be open to learning about new ideas for leadership roles. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with every new leadership role, but if someone sees something your organization is missing hear them out out on implementing it.

Conclusion

I hope these tips have helped you come up with a retention plan for your organization. If your organization wants to succeed and have amazing members working on retention is always an important step to strengthening your organization.

Does your organization take retention seriously? What’s your best advice for increasing organization retention rates?
 

In college on
September 1, 2017

7 Things College Students Need To Get Used To Doing On Their Own

Many college students are back on campus soon (if not already) so I thought I would share a couple of things that college students need to get used to doing on their own. College life is difficult because there is so much added responsibility, but it will be worth it. Knowing that you need to get used to doing these things on your own ahead of time really helps with the anxiety you may feel about having to do them.

Related Reading: 10 Things College Students Can Do To Become More Career/Adult Oriented

7 Things College Students Need To Get Used To Doing On Their Own | College is tough and there are a couple of things that college students need to get used to doing on their own. Click through for those things and my advice on tackling them.

1. Drinking Water Every Day

Starting off with something easy here, folks.

First and foremost, you really need to get used to drinking water every day (or at least when you feel thirsty.)

Chances are unless you are in an athletic program, there isn’t going to be anyone reminding you to stay hydrated all the time. So, you have to remind yourself to stay hydrated.

Why, because you will probably be walking and getting a lot more exercise in college than you did in high school. Unless you went to a HUGE high school, your college campus will probably be much bigger and a lot of college campuses are set up to be pedestrian friendly–which means they want you to walk around and not drive around. In order to get from Point A to Point B, you will be using a lot of body power (even if it doesn’t feel like it.)

For me, staying hydrated was so important. I went to college in Arkansas and it was still VERY hot during the first month or longer of classes because we went back to school in mid-to-late August which is often one of the hottest months in the south. Staying hydrated is key to surviving southern summers (and falls, heck, most any season).

My Advice: Get a really cute and easy to keep up with water bottle. My favorite at the moment is the Glitter Bomb Water Bottle from Bando. It’s $24, and it’s not made of the glitter that explodes in phone cases (in case you were wondering about that lol.) It’s beautiful and it reminds me to stay hydrated by being easy on the eyes ;-).

2. Talking To Customer Service On Their Own

Customer service. This is something that I dread, but you will probably need to chat with a customer service agent about something and you need to be able to learn how to keep your cool and get your desired result in the end.

Patience is key when it comes to talking to customer service. Getting hyped up for no reason will just make the experience worse than what it should be. Go in with a level head, but if you are getting sidelined, don’t be afraid to start putting on the pressure little by little.

Don’t go in at 100, go in smaller. Sometimes a bit of sugar goes a long way to getting what you want out of customer service.

For example, I recently accidentally overdrafted. I called my bank after I got a refund from the thing that charged me to see if they would be able to take off the overdraft fee. I nicely asked the worker to see if they could get it off, and low and behold they could. I was cordial during the entire conversation and I got what I wanted in the end.

Had I come to my banker with a nasty attitude right out of the gate, she may not have pulled the overdraft fee, even if she could. It’s all about making a nice first impression first, and then if necessary you put on pressure. Many customer service representatives are nice and they want to serve you as best they can. They cannot do that if you are rude at the very beginning of the conversation.

My Advice: Take time to collect your thoughts and try not to take your anger out on the customer service representative. This is just their job, yo! You may also want to chat via email or chat box if talking on the phone is too nerve-wracking for you.

Related Reading: Adulting 101: How To Get The Refunds You Deserve From Businesses

3. Cooking Basic Meals

Cooking during your freshman year may not be as easy, but sometimes it is still mandatory.

The cafeteria on campus isn’t open 24/7 and sometimes you get hungry late at night and you don’t feel like going off campus.

In that time, you need to be able to cook some basic meals so that you won’t starve or ruin your college’s equipment.

Most colleges have a community kitchen in all the dorm halls where you can go to cook some basic meals if you have your own cooking equipment. You may also live in a dorm with kitchens in the rooms if you are lucky.

Learn how to make some basic meals like spaghetti, mac n’ cheese, ramen noodles, Hamburger Helper, etc. These meals will help sustain you when late night cereal, sandwiches, and pop tarts just isn’t cutting the mustard.

My Advice: Recipes are the bomb.com. I am not the best cook, but I can follow a recipe. So find a recipe using the ingredients that you have and I guarantee that it will make you a better cook. Also, have everyday kitchen supplies, because they will make the cooking process a breeze. Here is a great list from Apartment Therapy that has a list of 15 basic tools all kitchens need. Obviously, if you are living in the dorms you may have to skimp on a good bunch of these items if you don’t have a kitchen of your own.

Related Reading: Three Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos

4. Getting To Places On Time

You are in college, which means you are grown AF. You should not be arriving to places late.

I am one of those people who would rather be way early and I value my time a lot. I hate when people are late to events or events start late (which was always hard for me because a lot of events start late in college.)

Overall, you should be striving to get to places on time, because it’s not always an option to arrive late. When it comes to things like class, sorority chapter meeting (if you decide to Go Greek!), group project meetings, etc. being late is not classy. Being late in general is not classy, even if it’s not the things I just talked about.

Be on time (or even early) and you will stop a lot of stress in your life.

My Advice: Take into consideration all the things that could go wrong that could make you late and try to adjust your time properly. It’s better to be way early than way late.

Related Reading: 7 Tips To Help You Be On Time For Once

5. Turning In & Remembering Assignments

Your parents will not hover over your shoulder to make sure that you turn things in on time. More than likely, they won’t even know what your assignments are unless you tell them. For the most part, my parents only knew when I had large-scale assignments, not any of my day-to-day work.

You are responsible for remembering your assignments and getting them turned in. Don’t expect that your college professor will say anything either. They did say something, when they gave you the multi-page document at the beginning of the year known as the syllabus. I don’t remember a professor being that cruel and not reminding us of an assignment until I went to graduate school, but some professors in college may not remind you.

It is your responsibility to read the syllabus and be prepared for any assignments that come up there or throughout your time in class.

My Advice: Get a planner. I personally love the Erin Condren planner, but there are so many cool planners to choose from. If you cannot afford a planner, use a digital planner by using Google Calendar, Asana, or Trello.

6. Reading Contracts

Reading contracts is the absolute worst, but not reading them can really come to bite you in the butt in the end.

When you are signing contracts for things like apartments, insurance, loans, etc. you need to be aware of every line that they put into the contract. If you are not, it can all come to bite you in the end.

An example from my own life. When I lived in my apartment my sophomore year we had to get Renter’s Insurance per our housing agreement. We didn’t feel like shopping around so me and my roommates signed up for the insurance that the apartment was pushing.

A few days into our lease, people came into our apartment while we were sleeping and stole some stuff from our apartment. The most expensive thing they got was a case of DVDs from one of my roommates. Other than that it was small stuff like food and laundry detergent. Alas, it was still a scary experience to have someone in your apartment just feet from you while you were sleeping peacefully in your room. Thank goodness for dogs who sense that things were off and barked. Remember to lock your doors, y’all!

What does this have to do with reading contracts? Well, if we had read our insurance contract more heavily we would have realized that it was really only a liability insurance which means it would have protected the apartments stuff if it got stolen. The apartment was furnished so if they had stolen a chair the apartment bought, it would have paid for that. Also, even if the insurance did cover our stuff, the premiums were so high that it wouldn’t have made sense to claim our kool-aid packets and case full of DVDs losses.

That left a sour taste in our mouths for the apartment and we were so ready to move out (but had to stay the entire year.) Reading contracts would have helped us realize that maybe we needed to shop around a bit to find some actually good insurance if we ever wanted to claim any of our own losses on the insurance.

My Advice: Take your time when reading ANY contract. Signing even the simplest contract when you aren’t sure what it means can have devastating consequences. Bring up your questions, get solid answers to them, and then reach out for help if you aren’t satisfied with the answers you get.

7. Acknowledging When It’s Time To Ask For Help

Last, but certainly not least, understand that part of being an adult is acknowledging when you need help.

You have SO many wonderful people behind you: your family, friends, professors, and I are all here to help!

I definitely wish that I acknowledged this enough in college. I didn’t want to bug my parents when I was hard up for cash or ask a professor as much when I didn’t understand something. You are not in this alone and you need to acknowledge that to succeed.

My Advice: Know that you can’t do everything by yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your family, friends, and even strangers. So often we have help right around the corner, if only we ask for it.

Conclusion

Being a young adult is difficult. There are some things that you should be able to do on your own, but sometimes it’s not that simple. At the end of the day, you must be willing to acknowledge when it is time to ask for help so that you can succeed. The people around you want you to grow, not drown in adulthood. Reach out to those around you for help if you need it.