Make the Most of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and most students are clearing out for a well-needed break.  I always think of Thanksgiving as the final rest before the big finale or the quiet before the storm.  When you return from Thanksgiving break, the crunch is on, and there are only a few more weeks left in the fall semester. Most of this time is spent preparing for finals. Professors are trying to fit in the last of what they can before the semester ends, and papers and projects are officially due.

There is not much you can do to change the fact that everything is coming to a close, and you will be required to put in a lot of work before now and then.  However, there are a few things that can help you prepare while you are home for Thanksgiving.

Hopefully, before you left, you handed in all the assignments that were due.  Did you look at the syllabus for each class?  If not, get online, and look ahead.  Knowing the dates for finals, papers, and projects will help you prioritize and organize yourself when you are back on campus.

Try to enjoy the rest.  Focus on the present.  Although, I am suggesting that you look ahead and prepare for the final days, I also believe it is important to use this time to re-energize.  Don’t spend the entire break out late.  Use this time to get into a good sleep pattern, and try to maintain that through finals week.  A well-rested mind is one of the best ways to combat stress, and think well during exams.

I’m also going to make a couple other suggestions unrelated to academic preparation. While you are home, think ahead to winter break.

Get a jump on making some extra cash.  Use the time now to look for seasonal work opportunities for winter break. If you would like to earn some money over your semester break,  secure that position is over Thanksgiving break!  Many companies need the extra help during the holiday season and are happy to hire college students.  Let potential employers know when you will be available to start.  If you wait until after finals week to look for seasonal work, you may be behind the eight ball.

Winter break can also be a good time to explore careers.  Talk to your relatives and friends over Thanksgiving.  Utilize your network to strike up the conversation about job shadowing opportunities and even internships.  You may be one of the many college students who have a month off between semesters.  If you are not working, you could take advantage of the down time to shadow someone in an industry of your interest.  Some companies will even offer short internships during the break. Explore these possibilities. If nothing else, you may learn of summer internship opportunities during your conversation.

Lastly, and on a lighter note, think about swapping out your seasonal clothing.  Did you bring home your summer items?  If not, think about asking mom and dad to stay a few minutes longer at drop-off so you can throw some summer clothes in a bag for them to take home for you.  Return to school at the end of this break with warmer clothing and suitcase. You may need to take more home for winter break. Store the bag under your bed, and fill with clothes in preparation for the longer stay.

Take the time to thank your parents and family.  Did you know that a hug has healing properties? (Maybe I will talk about that in another post.)  So, give your family a hug while you are home, and enjoy your time together. Trust me; it will make you feel better.

Happy Thanksgiving.

College Scholarship Pointers

Ok, so you might be applying for colleges, you may have made a decision, or you may even have already started school.  It’s never too late to start thinking about scholarships to help defray some of the costs associated with college tuition.

First, let me give you a brief definition of the types of scholarships available:

Career:  Scholarships that are specifically for students that would like to take a particular career path.

College:  Individual colleges will often have their own scholarship programs. Selection is often based on academic merit and financial need.

Merit: These scholarships are based on your academic, athletic, artistic/performance, or involvement in community service.

Need: These scholarships are granted based on you or your family’s financial situation.

Student: This category will award scholarships based on factors such as race, ethnicity, medical history, gender, and other criteria.    scholarship-pointers

Applying and receiving a scholarship can help bridge the gap between the cost of tuition, financial aid packages (if applicable), and what you will have to pay out of pocket.  Never assume that you have missed the deadline to apply for a scholarship.  The majority of deadlines occur in the first quarter of the year, but many programs have varying time frames.  Also, some school or career scholarships might be available only to students after completing a few semesters of college-level work.

Apply for as many scholarships as you think you may qualify.  The process can be time-consuming and require individual essays, but in some cases, the work can pay off.  Don’t assume that you must be a straight A student or a minority to be eligible. This is not the case.  Many scholarships are available to a student with a special talent or unique interest.  Here is a list of 100+ Scholarships for you to explore.  Watch the deadlines, and read all the details for eligibility.

Here is another tip or warning:  If the scholarship asks for an application fee or resource requires payment to look for scholarships, it is likely a scam.

If you are interested in free reputable sites to begin your scholarship search, try: Petersons.com, Unigo.com, collegeboard.org, niche.com, collegenet.com, ScholarshipExperts.com

Finally, I will suggest you look at your parent’s employer.  Beyond scholarships, there might be workplace benefits that can lower the cost of computers, insurance, and travel.  All these little things add up to the overall cost of an education.  If you can get reduced insurance rates for good grades or get a discount on computers, why not take advantage of it.  Every little bit helps in the end.  Good luck.