College Student New Year Resolutions

Well ladies and gents, 2013 is just around the corner, and that means many of us will be sitting down, more motivated than ever, and writing down our New Year resolutions. And sure, there may be a few habits you’d like to change, but we all have to admit; that feeling of lying down to sleep at night knowing you’ve had an incredibly productive day is an amazing feeling, so wouldn’t it be nice to have that feeling more often? Of course it would! So let us give you a few more specific solutions so some of the  most common college resolutions out there and help you get on track for having the best year ever.

1.) Stop procrastinating. This is typically on every college student’s checklist, and for good reason: the amount of effort we spend putting off homework assignments is astounding. I’ve been known to clean an entire house just to avoid starting a research paper. So stop it, by forcing yourself to change your habits. Really think about what you do every day; when you’re 95 years old, are you honestly going to look back on your life and be grateful you spent all those hours watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey? Probably not. You’d probably rather you got your work done and went to the gym. And speaking of the gym…

2.) Get healthy. This will probably be on your list, but it needs to be more specific. What do you mean by “healthy”? Do you have a goal weight (say 10 pounds lighter than you are) or a goal accomplishment (run a 5k). Make sure you have shorter time frames for check-in; saying “by the end of the year” is never a good idea. Instead, set a list of smaller goals throughout the month and focus on those. And finally, how are you going to do it? Nothing just miraculously “happens”, so you need to sort out the details, like hitting them gym 3 times a week and doing at least 30 minutes of cardio activity a day. That’s a good start.

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3.) Cut the drama. The new year often causes us to re-evaluate every aspect of our lives, and one of those aspects would be relationships. Do you have any that are holding you back? Perhaps a deadbeat boyfriend (or girlfriend) that sucks you dry of time, money and patience. Cut them loose, and that includes family. I had a manipulative and abusive father and five years ago I cut off all contact. It was tough, but I can honestly say I’ve been happier in the last five years that I have my entire life. It’s amazing how much every day improves when you have no one in your life that constantly ruins it.

4.) Plan your summer. Surely everyone has some version of “have an awesome summer” on their list, but no one plans for it. You will, starting now. Get a job lined up and then plan your weekends. Always wanted to go white water rafting? Want a girl’s weekend in Vegas? Want to learn how to surf? Figure out your commitments (weddings, family reunions) and book some trips on your weekends off. Like I said earlier, miraculous things don’t just happen; you have to work for them, including a kickass summer.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

How to Survive Christmas Break at Home

This blog is typically dedicated to strictly safety related posts, so a family oriented Christmas break post might seem a bit out of place, but let’s be honest here; going home after a semester at college while exciting, can also be one of the most stressful experiences ever. So if all you want is to make it back for the spring semester in one piece (and still on speaking terms with most members of your family), here are a few tips to make it through the holidays:

1.) Talk to your parents beforehand. Sure, you’re an adult, but they will probably never see you that way. You’ve been taking on an incredible amount of responsibility (you’re successfully passing 18 credits including Organic Chemistry all while working 30 hours a week and sleeping 7), and they probably think that’s all very adorable, but to them you will always be a one year old that’s still struggling to walk and doesn’t yet know how to use silverware.

So lay out some guidelines beforehand. Check in when they ask (it only takes a second andit lets them sleep soundly at night) and make sure they understand that you have a lot of people to see in a very limited amount of time.

2.) Talk with friends ahead of time. You might have this fantasy of going home and seeing all your hometown buddies, but if you show up with plenty of time to hang out only to find out that most of them didn’t come home this year you’re going to be pretty bummed.

3.) Understand that other people may have stayed the same while you have changed. One of the toughest things about going home is realizing that people still view you in the same light as when you left. Personally, I was a complete tomboy in high school. I didn’t own a dress and I didn’t even know how to put on makeup or wear my hair any different than in a knot on top of my head. But over the years I’ve found that I like dressing like a girl. Sure I’ll always be a tomboy that prefers playing in the mud to playing with dolls, but when friends back home saw me wearing makeup they thought I was a completely different person. I felt like I was defending myself when I hadn’t even done anything wrong. Be ready for it, and be ready for your friends to have changed as well. And go easy on them too; after all, this is a time when everyone is figuring out exactly who they are.

4.) Stay out of the drama. Your parents getting on your nerves? Let it go. They can’t help it. Your best friend from high school brought back their new college bestie home with them and she’s crashing everything with the two of you? Grow up. Hell if your friend likes her she’s probably pretty cool so maybe you should make an effort to get to know her. The last thing you need is to go back to college with a bunch of petty crap on your mind.

5.) Relax. Christmas break is a time to unwind! Drink hot cocoa on the couch with your mom, hit up Best Buy with your dad armed with that stack of gift cards you got for Christmas and take a walk around some of your favorite haunts. School’s going to be starting up again before you know it, so enjoy your homework free status while you can!

And in the meantime, don’t forget to check out our store of college safety gear at www.secureoncampus.com!

It’s Still an Illegal Drug

By the time you hit college, the phrase “Say no to drugs” has surely been ingrained into your mind. However, things are also a bit different in college. Of course you know what to say no to (you know, your general meth, crack, inhalants, etc.), but there’s a whole different breed of drugs that you might be considering. After all, they’re supposed to be good for you, right?

Wrong. The following are still drugs, and if they aren’t prescribed to you (and even if they are prescribed to you), taking them incorrectly can have disastrous consequences.

1.) Ritalin. It’s been around for several years, but the adverse effects of it have been fairly swept under the rug. The drug affects chemical secretion in the brain as well as specific nerves that affect impulse control and hyperactivity. But you probably already knew that…I mean it is prescribed to help with ADHD. But you should know that those nerves can be permanently damaged, especially when combined with caffeine or alcohol.

2.) Adderall. Also prescribed for people with ADHD, Adderall kicks things up a notch. It’s a sister drug of speed, and is also prescribed to people with Narcolepsy. Adderall, however, is much more dangerous. It can be easily abused and is quite addictive, with withdrawal side effects including depression, aggressive behavior, mania, and even psychosis, heart attack and death. So no, it’s not worth it to pass a final exam.

No sharing. You’d think that borrowing your roommate’s prescription might be harmless, but there are much bigger risks than you might realize. For example, I found out I have a heart condition my sophomore year of college. Had I tried taking Adderall or Ritalin during my freshman year, the results could have been catastrophic. Of course if I had gotten a prescription myself, my heart condition would’ve been taken into account. At the least, the dosage at least would’ve been adjusted.

And let’s not forget, that sharing prescription drugs is illegal; both for you to take and for your roommate to share with you (or sell, as is more likely the case).

Keep in mind that both of these drugs are not meant to increase one’s intelligence. All they do is delay the onset of sleep, allowing someone to stay up for hours on end cramming for exams and writing research papers. Of course, along with the side effects of the drugs themselves, are also the side effects of sleep deprivation, including increased anxiety and the inability to focus (the very problems the drug is supposed to fix). In fact, in terms of reaction time and decision making skills, a sleepless person can be compared to an individual who has an alcohol consumption above the legal limit.

So just don’t. Please get some sleep and develop some time management skills before turning to either one of these drugs for help.

Ways to Fight Winter Gloom

Now I may just call it “winter gloom” but let’s be honest; what I’m really talking about here is a little thing called seasonal affective disorder. You may even have it yourself and not even know it! How would you know?

Do you find yourself feeling a little depressed during the cold, winter months? What about when you happen to live somewhere that’s rainy all the time, like London or Seattle? It might seem silly, but it’s a real thing; some people just need more sun than others.

No really, I’m not even kidding! Seasonal affective disorder is a change of mood that’s brought on by decreasing amounts of daylight. That means short winter days are all it takes to trigger an episode. And if you’re already prone to having depressing thoughts, or already struggle with anxiety, a couple months of short, gray days (combined with the stress of final exams) can push you right over the edge. So how do you keep your head above water?

1.) Get out in the daylight while you can. SAD is caused by a lack of daylight, so when there is available daylight, get out there! Go for a walk, a drive, or just go sit in the park. Take a friend with you or go by yourself. Personally, I love going for a long drive; it’s the perfect way to clear your head!

2.) When indoors, position yourself near windows. Need to head to the library to do study for finals? Don’t bury yourself on the basement level, go up a floor or two and find a quiet study spot next to a window. You can even rearrange your dorm room to have your bed closer to your window so when you wake up in the morning the first thing you see is a little daylight.

3.) Exercise! Exercising releases natural endorphins that help you feel instantly happier. And all you really need is 30 minutes a day; plus you can always combine it with something outside.

Freezing temperatures make it so you’d rather stay indoors? No problem! Head to the gym (a school gym membership should be included in your tuition fees) and try and get a treadmill facing a window. Or just blast some of your favorite music in your dorm room and have a personal dance party for one. It still counts as exercise!

4.) Trick yourself. Surrounding yourself with pictures of the ocean or home during the summer time may sound like a futile attempt to make yourself feel better, but it really does work. After all, when you’re feeling homesick would you rather sit in a blank room, or one covered in pictures of friends and family? There’s a reason college kids line their walls with photos; it makes them feel better! Do the same with this: put calendar pictures of summer days in between your photos. It’ll be a wall of inspiration.

5.) Make a fun change. Changing it up in the drab of winter can bring a little excitement into your life. It doesn’t have to be crazy; just get a new haircut or try out a new bakery in town. A little bit goes a long way!

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spray, safes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lighting, fun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!