Michelle's Blog

Who is Michelle?
Michelle is studying atmospheric science with a focus on wind energy. She hopes to find real-world solutions to environmental issues.


Michelle's College Blog

Jobs to Pay for College
Dec. 10, 2010

I'm in the middle of finals week, which is both stressful, and a relief. It's stressful before the exam, and a relief after it's finished.

The past couple of weeks have been a little more hectic than usual because I was in a minor accident on Monday. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. The other driver's insurance is covering the damages, as it was their fault.

The insurance companies dealt with the logistics, but I had to pay for everything up front. (I had my car towed until I had the materials to fix it.) There are many occasions in college when you will need some extra money -- not only if you get into a car accident.

If you are thinking of going to college, but are worried about money, there are many options for jobs. After you decide that you want to get a job, the bigger decision is the time commitment you have to make.

Many people can juggle time-intensive jobs and schoolwork. I would not recommend this during your first semester. There is an easier adjustment route. Look into the many jobs available on campus.

For example:

Financial aid: Jobs on campus, and most jobs pay higher than minimum wage.

Front desk of a dorm: I did this for two years. There weren't too many hours, I received approximately minimum wage, but was allowed to work on my homework during quiet times.

Room advisors (RAs): More time commitment, but better benefits. You get free room and board, and work within the area you live. You will respond and try to alleviate problems within the dorm, such as noise complaints.

These are just a few of the many options for part-time employment while in school. There are also student loans, grants and scholarships. All are great ways to make college affordable. Don't fret about how expensive college can be. Just remember there are options. When the time gets closer, talk to your parents, or if you have older friends who are at college, they are also great sources to ask.

The Risks of All-Nighters
Dec. 6, 2010

This past week was my last week of classes. It's been really nice to sleep in, but now I have to start studying for finals!

This year, my exam schedule isn't too bad. Normally, most schools will allow you to change an exam time if you have three finals within 24 hours, or if two are scheduled for the same time and day.

Exams rarely occur at the exact same time because there is usually a schedule created by the university to avoid that problem. Having three exams in 24 hours is more common. I've never had it happen, but some friends have. They had to go talk to administration to have it changed.

Exam time can be really stressful, particularly the day before a test. I learned after my freshman year that studying the day before a final is a bad idea. Doing this leads to little sleep, little preparation and maximum stress. During exam weeks, it's hard to feel 100 percent prepared for anything, just because there is so much material and so many time limitations. By studying in advance, you'll feel a lot better and you can get to bed at a somewhat normal hour!

A few times in my early college career, I waited until the day before a test to study. This created a lot of unwanted stress, and I sometimes made the bad decision to pull what is called an "all-nighter."

An all-nighter is exactly what it sounds like: you stay up all night studying for your exam, and study up until the time of your exam without sleeping. It makes it really hard to focus during the test, and you are really tired.

Many studies have proven that pulling all-nighters is both bad for your health and for academics. These studies have shown that people perform better with sleep than without. I'm not saying that when you're in college you're never going to have a late-night homework or study session, but it shouldn't be a regular thing.

I learned that the hard way in my freshman year after many stressful and sleepless nights, and now I never pull all-nighters. It's definitely not worth it. I learned that the hard way. Hopefully, you won't have to.