The Nerd Corner

The College Survival Guide


If you’ve made your way to this post then you may or may not be a college student. Whether you are 16 (like me) or 64, you’re going to need to learn a few tips on how to survive Campus/Online College. I am going to share what I know with you to help you get through the next few years of your life.

Create An Overview

Creating an overview is especially important to make sure you get the general feeling of all of your classes and teachers and how you want to go about note-taking and studying. When creating your overview, whether it be on the first page of your notebook or typing away in your computer, you should always take down the name and contact information of your professor, academic advisors, and even a school tutor.

For example: 

Dr. Jane Doe

Also be sure to include the number of classes you are taking that semester, along with credits and any goals you may have.

For example:

4 semesters – 20 classes / 5 classes per semester / Total: 60 credits (60 credits is the required for an Associates Degree)

A goal could be towards your GPA, completion date, or even study hours.

During the overview, I also like to include my note taking system aka Highlighter Legend. Mine looks like this:

  • Blue – Headings
  • Green – Subheadings/Bullets
  • Pink – Keywords
  • Yellow – Key Phrases

Course Overview

For your courses, not only should you add your professor’s information to your overview, but also a list of how many lessons, assignments, and quizzes make the entirety of the course and the weight of each item.

For example: 

  • 8 lessons
  • 1 discussion (12.5% of grade.)
  • 1 assignment (12.5% of grade)
  • 6 exams (12% of grade per exam.)

You should always pay attention to the portions that will greatly impact your grade; such as if your Final is to be 30% weighted.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

When you have the contact information of your professor, make sure to use it! Don’t be afraid to ask about the syllabus or what portions are going to be on the Final. Always make sure to reach out for help if you are struggling with the coursework and need a review.

Writing the Best Research Paper

Chances are you’ve already written a research paper a few times in your life. If you haven’t, or if you have but still need some tips, there are a few things I want you to know.

“The key to writing a properly researched paper is to find accurate and relevant facts that support your claims and present them in an organized and logical sequence.” -Ashworth College , Achieving Academic Excellence, Lesson 4

Finding the Relevant Information

When it’s time to write your paper, there are some helpful questions to ask as you conduct research:

  • Does the information support or explain your topic?
  • Do you truly understand the meaning behind it?
  • Can you explain the information in your own words?
  • Will this information fit into one of your body paragraphs?

Types of Sources

  • Websites
  • Online Libraries and Databases
  • Books and Academic or Trade Journals
  • Magazines and Newspapers
  • Documentaries
  • Encyclopedias
  • Blog and Social Media (in few circumstances.)

Beware of Anecdotal Information

Anecdotal information is based on person experiences, biases, and stories, rather than facts, data, and research. That being said, personal accounts can help bring life into your research, but make sure your claims are also backed up by actual data and facts.

Find The Best Spot For You To Study

Studying is everything in college. Of course, you need to have fun, too, but your grades make it or break it when it comes to getting your degree.

If you have a noisy dorm-mate or maybe your house is hectic, try finding a spot where you can comfortably study. The park, a local coffee shop, or a library are some good choices, but YOU know you best.

Study Tips

Interval Studying

Studies show that the first time you hear or study something new, you increase your chance of retaining what you’ve learned if you review the material within 24 hours.

Memory Consolidation

You should also consider studying right before bed!

Active Recall

Read some material, the close the book and try to recite as much of what you read as possible. An example of this is to use flashcards.

Study Habits to Avoid:

  • Avoid cramming
  • Beware of overlearning
  • Avoid multitasking
  • Stressing out


  • Review new material within 24 hours.
  • Do not cram at the last minute.
  • Consider studying right before bed.
  • Study smart, not hard.
  • Practice “active recall”; use flashcards
  • Mix up your studying routine.
  • Do not multitask while studying.
  • Reduce your stress by taking breaks.
  • Remember, practice makes perfect.
  • Teach yourself.

How to Budget Like A Pro

You’ve probably heard of budgeting before; you know, that thing that helps you guide yourself on spending hard earned money. I know you would much rather go on a shopping spree with your fresh paycheck, but there are a few things that need to come in order before you think about those jeans at Hollister. Believe it or not, my first ever college course took me through a lesson of budgeting, so I wrote down a few things to help you, too. 


The biggest budgeting tip I ever learned is 50/20/30. If you’ve never heard of this, or have, but aren’t 100% sure what it is, then pay attention! 50/20/30 is a method of saving and spending.

Fixed Costs (50%)

Fixed costs are bills that don’t vary from month-to-month, like rent, utilities, and car payments. You should also include your monthly subscriptions to this pile like: Netflix, Spotify, you cell phone bill, and tuition payments.

When budgeting, fixed costs should take up to 50% of your paycheck.

Financial Goals (20%)

You should strongly consider putting 20% in savings to help you secure the future. This fund can be used to help you buy a home, pay for college, make special purchases, retire, or be used as a rainy-day-fund.

Flexible Spending (30%)

This is where the new pair of jeans comes in. Flexible Spending is day-to-day expenses that vary from month-to-month, like groceries, gas, entertainment, shopping, bobbies, gifts, or eating out.


To make everything a little bit easier to understand, let’s pretend you make $2,000 a month. Which the 50/20/30 method, $1,000 of that will be used on Fixed Costs, $200 will be used on Financial Goals, and $300 will be used towards Flexible Spending.

College Student Perks

You should also be aware of the services that give college kids a student discount. Here is a list of companies that give amazing perks:

  • Amazon. This is no surprise, just give them your @edu email and get 6 months of Amazon prime for FREE, and 50% after that. If you don’t have an @edu email like me, you can email Amazon a copy of your tuition statement. Just made sure your school’s logo is on it as well. Start your Amazon Student HERE
  • Microsoft. Get Office 365 for FREE. Start HERE.
  • UniDays. Sign up with UniDays and get a bucket load of savings from your favorite brands on anything from tech to clothes. Click HERE to see a list of companies that UniDays supports.  Click HERE to sign up.


What are you majoring in? Did I answer any of your troubles? Let’s talk college in the comments!!





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