The Do's and Don'ts of Surviving College with Cengage

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cengage. The opinions and text are all mine.

It's that time of the year again...when the summer blues start to hit and every day leading up to the first day of school feels like a Sunday evening. It's always hard to transition back into school, even when you're all grown up and in college. I'm starting my 5th year of college (yes, I feel like I might never be done), and over the past 4 years I've definitely realized some things that I probably learned the hard way. College is pretty stressful, but it doesn't have to be. Read on for my best tips and advice from the last 4 years of my life.

Don't: Go Broke Buying Textbooks

There is nothing more stressful than shelling out three months rent on textbooks that you use for one semester. It is seriously painful how much they cost. BUT I have finally found the most amazing solution - Cengage Unlimited. This new subscription service is perfect for college students because it allows you to have access to all your Cengage courses, a library of eBooks, study guides and tools for success, and a free print rental. Guys, for only $119.99 a semester you can have access to all this. The best part is, this isn't just for access to one or two books. No, this $119.99 a semester gets you access to as many courses and eBooks as you need, and the price does not change. Not only is it saving you a big chunk of change, but not having to lug your heavy books around all day is so convenient (unless you like doing that, you can also rent physical books through Cengage Unlimited for every activated course for $7.99 - shipping is free!). I can't even tell you how many times I've needed a book and forgot it at my apartment or didn't bring it to class that particular day. The reason I'm SO excited to work with Cengage on this post is because I have literally had to pay to have access to Cengage in a ton of my classes over the last four years. Cengage Unlimited is a major game-changer - it will help skyrocket your college success without breaking the bank. You can check out Cengage Unlimited HERE and purchase your own subscription just in time for the new school year.

Do: Have the Right Tools

I talk about planners all the time on here, but I really do believe that you need one to stay sane in college. I keep a running to do list, monthly and daily schedule, and even a list of random thoughts that pop into my head all in my planner. This helps relieve so much stress for me. Another thing you will definitely want for college is a laptop. 99% of my homework, quizzes, and even tests are online, so I can't imagine not having one. Plus, you will want to have a laptop to access your new Cengage Unlimited subscription from anywhere. My MacBook Pro has been my trusty sidekick throughout high school and college, and I love it so much. Finally, you need a good place to store all your stuff. I have been a backpack gal since kindergarten, but last semester I started using a canvas tote. I alternate between a backpack and a tote depending on how much stuff I need to bring with me. Having the right bag will save your back and also help you stay organized.

Don't: Take It For Granted
It's cliche and everybody says it, but it could not be more true. College just FLIES by in the blink of an eye. As I start inching closer to entering the real world and the adult workforce, I find myself wishing I would have slowed down and enjoyed my first few college years more than I did. At the beginning, I was so excited to graduate and start my life. College is a time to enjoy yourself and make memories you will cherish for the rest of your life, not a time to wish away. Realize how lucky you are to even have the opportunity to get a college education and make the most of every day.

Do: Leave Your Comfort Zone
I can't even count how many times I was invited to something or had to make a huge presentation in class that I absolutely did not want to do. Whether it's a social or educational situation, be sure to push yourself far out of your comfort zone. It is cheesy but so true; doing so will make you will grow as a person and you will be so much better for it. Next time you're invited to that event you are too nervous to go to, go. If you find yourself not wanting to study alone, break out of your shell and ask the girl sitting next to you in class to be your study buddy.

Don't: Take Shortcuts
Sometimes it's so easy and so tempting to take the easy way out. Picture this: it's the first day of your new job and someone asks you a question you should absolutely know the answer to. But you don't, because you didn't actually read that section of the textbook or do the optional practice questions. Even though it's more work and more time consuming, you will not regret going the extra mile to do things right.

Do: Find What Works for You
Your twenties are such a weird time in your life - you are not a teenager anymore but you sure don't feel like a full-fledged adult. You fail so many times at pretty much everything and still have to call your mom to ask how to get a stain out of your shirt. College is a learning phase of life, so make sure you learn everything you possibly can about yourself during that time. It's so important for you to figure out how you learn best. You're going to be a lifelong learner, so figuring this out early on is essential. Some people do best when they study one day before an exam, some people need to study weeks in advance. Some people work best in a big group of people, some people work better alone. It won't take you long to figure out what works for you. Once you find your learning style, stick with it. There's no need to re-invent the wheel.

College really can be some of the best 4 (or more) years of your life, as long as you push yourself and try to make the most out of every single day.  It can be such a defining time that will help mold you into the adult you will be for the rest of your life. On the tough days, remember this advice and remember that it will all work out in the end. College really is GREAT and you will get out of it what you put into it.

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