What Does Our Body Language Say?

Our body language and facial expressions make up so much of what we say – experts suggest that it may make up 50 – 70% of all communication! If we use it so much in our daily lives, have you ever wondered: what exactly am I saying with my body language? Here are some common movements and habits that people have and what we might be saying without words!

Eyes

  • Eyebrows: your eyebrows can say a lot about your emotions! Furrowed or scrunched up eyebrows typically mean frustration or confusion, while raised eyebrows shows interest, curiosity, or surprise!.
  • Blinking: most people blink an average of 6-8 times per minute. If you’re under stress, you blink a lot more. You can tell if others might be stressing out by how much they’re blinking.
  • Looking up or to the side: this tells a lot about how our memory works. If you are trying to remember something you’ve seen before, you will typically look up like you’re trying to picture it. If you are trying to remember something you’ve heard, you will look to the side towards one of your ears, like you’re listening for it.
  • Lowering your eyes: can you picture little kids doing this when they feel sorry or want something? Lowering your eyes is a common human response to wanting the support of others or needing some empathy.

Mouth

  • Smiling: there’s a reason people say smiling is contagious! When you smile, it sends signals to the other person that they should be smiling, too.
  • Chewing on your lip: many people have a habit of biting or sucking on their lip when they’re in an awkward situation or feel uncomfortable. It could be because they’re trying to soothe themselves!
  • Tense lips: pursed or tensed lips are often a sign of anger or annoyance. Be sure to pick up on this cue and try to alleviate the tension next time you’re around some with pursed lips!

face

  • Scratching your nose: this is often associated with telling lies. This is because when someone tells a lie, they get a small adrenaline rush which causes your nose to itch! So watch out for people itching their nose when saying something suspicious.
  • Tilting your head: this is a sign of interest and engagement. We do it out of habit when listening to a friend’s interesting story, both out of intrigue and also it helps us hear better when we angle our ear towards them.

body

  • Angling your body: we will usually angle our feet towards those we are paying close attention to or respect. For example, you may angle your body towards your professor when listening to a lecture. It’s also a sign of acceptance when a friend walks up to join your group and you angle your body out to welcome them in!
  • Slouching shoulders: doing this too much can make your body hold on to stress and feel sad or weighed down. Try to stand up straight and you’ll feel more confident and positive!
  • Rocking from side to side: when you shift your weight back and forth between your legs, this is often a sign that you are anxious and are trying to comfort yourself.

hands

  • Handshakes: some people say the way you shake hands says a lot about you! A firm but nice grip implies that you’re outgoing and confident, while a limp squeeze or too quick of a shake could mean you are shy or unsure.
  • Gesturing when you talk: research shows that those who gesture more with their arms tend to be energetic and agreeable, so if you are trying to make an impression or be more memorable, try to use your hands when you talk. But don’t overdo it! Too much arm movement can seem overly excited or out of control.
  • Picking at your nails: this is a sign of low confidence or stress. Instead of messing with your nails, try finding something else to do with your hands such as a stress ball, fidget object of some sort, or folding your hands together so you’re not able to reach the nails.

20 Tips for Thriving in Your First Semester

College is an exciting time in your life, and with the excitement comes a lot of change! For most people, it is the first time to live away from your family and be responsible for yourself. Your freshman year is important for building relationships, setting the pace for school work, and growing good habits for the rest of your college career! Here are 20 tips to get you started and on the right path for a successful first semester

  1. Go to orientation. There is a ton of information given at orientation about the campus, classes, various organizations, and helpful resources. The more you know at the beginning, the more comfortable you’ll be!
  2. Explore the campus. Do this before your first day so you know where your classes are and where the major spots on campus are – food places, the library, the gym, student centers, and more.
  3. Get organized! Time management and organization is crucial to keeping everything balanced and orderly. A good, old-fashioned planner is worth investing in to keep you on track! There are apps to help with this, such as MyHomework Student Planner and Trello. Binders and notebooks are great for separating and organizing all of your courses. Google Drive is a lifesaver when it comes to group assignments and backing up your work!
  4. Go to class! I mean, you are paying for it! Avoid the temptation to sleep through that Monday morning 8am class. You’ll be more prepared for tests and assignments, and receive important information from the professor about upcoming stuff.
  5. Use the syllabus. Print off the syllabus or have it easily accessible. This will help you know requirements for the course and due dates for assignments and tests.
  6. Figure out your learning style. Having a good understanding of how you best learn will make you more confident in studying and help you find ways to improve your study habits. Learn more about this in our recent blog post!
  7. Take notes. Find a system for note-taking that works well for you, and stick to it.
  8. Meet your professors. They can put a name to the face, and you’ll feel more comfortable with asking questions throughout the semester. Learn their office hours so you can go if you need extra help.
  9. Have a plan for course registration. Trust me, this time of year can get cutthroat. Talk with your academic advisers often and have a game plan for registering for classes so that you know exactly what to do when it opens. Also, have backup plans for if a class is too full. You don’t want to extend your time in college by another semester or 2 because you didn’t prepare for registration!
  10. Get involved in campus. Explore the various school organizations and find a couple you want to try out. Don’t overwhelm yourself: stick to just a 1-2 that you are passionate about. There are organizations for everyone, so you can definitely find something you’re interested in. These are a great way to build friendships that last all through college!
  11. Find good college student deals. There are so many deals available for college students! Some good ones are UNiDAYS, which offers tons of discounts at local and online store; Spotify Premium has a discount for students; and there are often local apps with food and retail store deals. Also, get great discounts on your textbooks at www.textbooksolutions.com!
  12. Make friends with students in your classes. That way you always have a study buddy or someone to share notes with!
  13. Don’t procrastinate! Procrastinating until 11:00pm on your homework can spiral out and become a habit. Don’t let it get to that point! Use time in between classes to get ahead instead of watching Netflix, or set aside an hour each evening for schoolwork.
  14. Stay healthy and eat right. Don’t get caught up in the lazy Ramen and McDonalds phase of college life. There are plenty of ways to eat right on a budget, you just have to take the time to plan out your meals and snacks and find what works best for you. Take vitamins, get enough sleep, and find ways to stay active – whether it’s going on walks at your local park or using a free gym service at your campus.
  15. Talk to your parents often. Set an alarm on your phone to call your mom and dad once or twice a week – it will mean the world to all of you to stay in touch!
  16. Keep track of your money! Start a budget if needed, or just monitor your bank accounts. If you have a credit card, be smart with it – don’t spend money that you don’t have.
  17. Limit social media time. It is hard to resist the urge, but you can maximize your study time if you don’t get on Facebook or Instagram every 10 minutes. It can also take away time you could use to experience new things and form new friendships.
  18. Find a balance. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the new experiences, but you have to find a way to balance your social life and academics. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help if you need it.
  19. Make time for you! Find hobbies or relaxing activities that make you happy and take time to do them a couple times a week
  20. Stay positive! College may seem stressful and full of change, but it’s an exciting time of life! You can make the choice to be positive and not let situations bring you down.

Resources

https://www.livecareer.com/career/advice/jobs/first-year-success

https://www.collegexpress.com/articles-and-advice/student-life/blog/10-tips-how-survive-and-thrive-your-first-year-college/

https://collegeinfogeek.com/42-things-i-learned-freshman-year/

Traveling on a Budget

Do you spend your time daydreaming of traveling the world and seeing glaciers, jungles, mountains, and beaches, while you’re confined to sitting at home? Or maybe you search photos on Pinterest and Instagram of all the fun cultures and food that you could experience around the world, and all you have is leftover mac-and-cheese in the fridge. Many people are left to wonder and long for fun traveling adventures, and the main thing stopping them is…money! But don’t put that suitcase away just yet, because there are tons of money-saving tips and ideas for traveling on a budget!

TRAVEL

One of the biggest roadblocks to pulling the trigger is the airfare. But there are quite a few tricks to saving money on flights:

  • Sign up for a credit card that earns points towards flights! This is a super easy way to earn cash towards that dream vacation, and you don’t even have to change your spending habits. Some credit cards good for this are the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture Rewards card. You could also do an airline-specific credit card, like Southwest. Start racking up points as soon as you want!
  • Travel in the off-season. This is typically November-March, although it may depend on the country you want to visit. Peak season is June-August, so avoid these times if possible.
  • Pack light to avoid checked luggage fees. Some airlines, like Southwest, let you check a bag for free. This is not often the case, so research before you go!
  • Tuesday is the cheapest day to travel, so try to book flights on this day.
  • Check prices often! Look at websites like Travelocity or Kayak that compare flight prices.
  • If it is not somewhere you have to fly to, consider road-tripping with family or friends! This is more cost effective than flying and you can split the cost of gas with others.

LODGING

Now that you know how you’re going to get there, you need a place to stay! This can also be a big cost, so here are some ways to stay in budget:

  • Travel with friends or family so you can split the cost of wherever you stay (this will also save in other areas, too)!
  • If you’re okay with sharing a space with other people, try a hostel! Hostels are world-wide and provide accommodations for big groups of people, such as students, workers, or travelers. You rent a bed for a low price, and often share a bathroom, kitchen, and living area with others. They are great for low budgets and meeting new people! You can easily find a local hostel in the country you’re visiting by searching online or going to websites like Hostel World.
  • Opt out of a hotel and instead choose a local Airbnb or VRBO. These are both popular forums that let you find lodging for a wide range of needs, and are very well-priced!
  • A FREE option is Couchsurfing! This website gives you access to free lodging in homes in almost any area.You can meet and stay with locals from all over the world who have an extra couch, bed, or air mattress for you to stay on for free. It is common courtesy to do something in return for the host, such as take them out to dinner or bring them a gift, but the entire experience is free!

FOOD

This is one of the best parts about traveling – all the food! While you want to enjoy the country’s cuisine and experience all the fun dining, it can take a toll on the wallet. Here are some ideas:

  • Stay in hotels or hostels that offer a free breakfast. Then, one third of your meals are taken care of! You can usually find this information online wherever you are booking.
  • Buy cheap snacks and easy-to-prepare meals from a grocery store instead of eating out for every meal. That way, you can splurge on dinner without feeling guilty. Take these snacks with you when you go out to avoid the urge to buy more expensive things throughout the day.
  • Eat local! Local food is a big pull to most places, and if often some of the cheapest options. Street vendors offer a great addition to any cultural experience, and are well-priced!

ACTIVITIES

Last but not least, you have to plan all of the fun adventures you’ll go on! Here are some tips for keeping activities budget-friendly:

  • Ask local residents what their favorite activities and deals are. Often, they will know the best places to go that may not always be on the beaten path.
  • Rent a bicycle for transportation instead of renting a car. Other good transportation methods are the local public transportation system, Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing sites. If possible, don’t use a local taxi – these are overpriced and add unneeded expenses to your trip!
  • There are lots of free entertainment options available, such as art galleries and museums! Some places offer free walking or biking tours, which allow you to visit all the must-see landmarks in the area. You can usually find music or art festivals at local parks, or vendors performing on popular streets. These are all great experiences with the culture and easy on the wallet!
  • If you are a student and have a student I.D, many places in the United States and abroad offer student discounts! Research what discounts you can get with your student I.D, and look into getting an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) because this is valid across almost all countries.

These are only a few of the many tips and tricks you can find on traveling. There is nothing stopping you from having the experience of a lifetime anywhere in the world – now start packing!

Resources

How to Stay Healthy & Fit in College

Juggling studying, going to classes, and maintaining social relationships can take up majority of your time in college and it’s very easy to create unhealthy habits. However, we’ve come up a few tips to help you feel your best and stay healthy & fit in college!

Create a Routine

When you only have classes a few times a week during odd hours of the day, it can be hard to keep a routine going but having a set schedule of what you need to do during the day will make it so much easier to keep healthy habits. Be sure to set aside some time daily for some cardio or yoga or whatever fitness activity you’d like.

Meal Prep

Picking up fast food on campus can be a quick and easy solution when you are hungry and busy with studying but it can quickly become an unhealthy habit. An easy way to make sure you don’t give in to the temptation is to prepare your meals ahead of time. You can make your meals at the start of the week or even every 2 days, whichever fits your schedule best, this will make life so much easier when you are busy and have no time to cook yourself a healthy meal. You can find tons of meal prep recipes online.

Take Advantage of Your School’s Rec Center

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Most schools have a gym that is available to all students. If you can, try and take advantage of this amenity and everything it has to offer. The on-campus gym makes working out super convenient and easy, all while not having to leave campus! Some even offer exercises classes, such a cycling or yoga, which can make working out easier if you’re just starting out.

Get Enough Sleep

Try to get a full 8 hours of sleep at night, sleep plays a crucial role in your overall health! We know keeping up with studying and classes can get overwhelming and you might try to pull a few all-nighters but lack of sleep can make you feel so much worse and won’t help with retaining information, it can also hinder weight loss and even cause weight gain. Along with the routine tip, make sure you are working in an adamant amount of sleep into your schedule every night.

Drink Plenty of Water

Lastly, we know you’ve heard it before…but drink more water! It might be one of the healthiest things you can do for your body since it needs water to properly function. Try and keep a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go and fill up multiple times a day.

Checklist for making the most of your college experience

Whether graduation seems forever away or approaching too soon, you want to make the most of your time in college! Here are some tips we put together for you on how to make the most of your college experience:

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  • Take advantage of tutoring opportunities
    If you’re struggling with math homework or an essay for an English class, most of the time there are free tutoring services that are provided by the school that can help you. There’s no use in passing up the service that your tuition already pays for. Looking at the other side of the coin, if you’re really good at a subject you can either volunteer or maybe even get paid to be a tutor. Either way, this will look good on your resume and it helps to reiterate the information back to you and you become more of an expert on the subject.
  • Find your study space
    Doing homework in your dorm or apartment is not the ideal place to stay focused. Your body and mind associate it with somewhere that you relax and hang out with friends. Search around the campus and you’re sure to find plenty of places to study and do homework. Sometimes departments will offer a space for students in their program to study and if you get lucky enough, they can give you free stuff that they don’t want like books or notebooks. If studying on campus isn’t something that you like, there are plenty of coffee shops that have wifi. Sometimes going out of your comfort zone can open doors to new places to study.
  • Save your course materials
    Saving all course materials can sound a bit intimidating considering the amount of work a student can accumulate over the years. The way to do this efficiently is to keep the most important documents. You can use this information for the harder classes that are relevant to the course you take at the beginning of your college career. Not only that, you can keep these items in case you need to create a portfolio when you’re a senior. Don’t have enough space on your computer? You can always store the files on a hard-drive. There are also applications that you can store information on the web.
  • Read over your credit requirements
    It’s very important to constantly be looking at the requirements for the major that you plan to pursue. Degree plans change all the time and it is important that you don’t take classes more than once or that you take unnecessary classes. This will save you time and money. Who knows, you could even graduate faster than anticipated.
  • Attend extracurricular lectures and seminars
    All colleges and universities invite guest speakers for students to learn more. This would be a key factor for students that want to learn more about a specific subject. Not only that, if professors see that you are taking initiative to learn more about a subject they can be more willing to help you out.
  • Talk to other students, professors, and alumni
    Talking to other people can seem scary (especially for us introverts) but it is a great way to network. If you talk to fellow classmates, you can help each other out in the class by comparing notes and studying together. This can help you in many different ways. Talking to professors more can also help your grade. If they see that you are trying they could give tips on how to better your work to get a higher score. Getting to know professors is also a very helpful technique to do because these are the people that can give you recommendation letters for graduate schools and future jobs. The alumni can also be very useful because they have already passed through the path that you are going through. They can help guide you and give insight on life once graduation is over.
  • Keep an open mind about new things
    Not letting yourself get tied down to just one thing will help you in the long run. Opening your mind can lead to taking classes that can open a new passion and maybe even become a hobby that can help relieve stress. It can also lead to meeting new people that can help network.
  • Get a college job in your desired career field
    Looking for a job is stressful enough as it is, but if you can find something that is related to your desired career, this can open doors for when you do graduate. Employers will be able to see that you have experience in the field and will want to choose you over people that don’t have the same experience.
  • Don’t just take an easy class, take interesting ones
    Students can get carried away by selecting easy classes because they want to boost their GPA but sometimes it isn’t the best choice. Instead of taking a boring class just because the assumption that it will be easier, taking an interesting class about something that is a bit out of your comfort zone can open your mind to something new and exciting that you can enjoy more than you think You can also find new friends in these classes and again open yourself up to more networking.
  • Have a “Plan B”
    Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. You should always have second and third options just in case your first choices are taken. No one knows what is in the path of life, so having a backup plan will help with anxiety that comes with not being able to choose a class of your liking or being a first choice.
  • Join extracurricular activities
    Although we all stress out about what classes to take and how good our grades need to be, we also need to make time for other things so you don’t stress yourself out. Joining a club or intramural sport can help in a lot of different ways. It can manage your stress, give you more confidence and make new friends. It can also teach you new things about yourself that you would have never known if you hadn’t joined a club.
  • Stay on budget
    Creating a budget can be very useful when living alone in a dorm or even with parents. Making sure that you have enough money to buy the basic necessities can be very helpful. This can help ease the stress when thinking about the financial part of school and allows you to focus on other things.
  • Know college benefits
    The tuition that you pay isn’t just the classes that you register for. There are many other benefits that the college or university have to offer their students. Ask your advisor to see what kind of benefits you’re missing out on. There can be very useful services out there that you never thought you would need.
  • Learn to combat stress
    Combating stress can be hard at times, but there are a few things that you can do to help you out. Taking time to self-care if very important, this means things like sleeping a sufficient amount of time, eating healthy foods. These can all help your body and mind run more smooth. Doing assignments one step at a time can also help with combating stress. Even talking with an advisor can help relieve some of the pressure that we put on ourselves. Take a moment to take a deep breath.
  • Use office hours
    As stated previously, it is important to get to know your professors. Using office hours shows the professors that you are interested in learning about the subject and that you are dedicated to getting a good grade. This can open doors so that they can write recommendation letters in the future when applying for jobs or graduate school.
  • Have fun!
    One of the most important things is to have fun in school. Having fun can be easily forgotten when you’re worried about grades but school can also be fun if you let it be.