Here is your pre-college social media guide

In less than a month – yes, time really does fly – you’ll be starting college, meeting new people and making new friends. However, thanks to social media, you can get a start on that right now.

FacebookIconforJuly31PostFor example, you can join your school’s Class of 2017 Facebook page, where you can “meet” and “talk with” other members of the incoming freshman class. Or, you can follow your school on Twitter.Twitter-Logo

But, you don’t want to end up looking like a dork so The Huffington Post has some great suggestions on what to do – and what not to do — and what not to do — so you don’t embarrass yourself.

DO:

  • Chat with your fellow incoming freshman online. After all, you’re all excited about getting to campus.
  • Share a few details that reflect your personality.
  • Start a conversation by asking where your classmates are from, what their majors are, what music they like, what they like to do in their spare time, and what extracurricular activities they plan to participate in when they get to campus.
  • Pay attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation in your posts.
  • Keep your posts short.

DON’T:

  • Share too much.
  • Be offensive.
  • Post political or religious content.
  • Criticize anyone in the group because people will judge you.
  • Send everyone a friend request. You don’t want to scare off any of your classmates. Plus, it’ll look kinda creepy.
  • Flirt with people you hope may be a partner when you get to campus.
  • Use smiley faces, all caps or bad grammar. You may be taken the wrong way if you do.
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20 things you must know before heading into the working world

If you’ve just entered the working world – or if you’ll be there soon – you know that it’s an exciting and nerve-wracking place. There’s so much to learn. So much to do. So much that could go wrong. OK, don’t worry about that last part because we’ve got you covered.

Our friends at Ragan’s PR Daily feature 20 pieces of advice every young professional – we mean you – should know. It was written by Reba Hull Campbell, who is executive director of the Municipal Association of South Carolina and is celebrating her 30th anniversary in the working world.

Here are some highlights:

Don’t pass on any chance to learn.
Find out what people in your profession are reading and read it, too. Seek out professional development opportunities. Join professional organizations.

Be interested and inquisitive.
Ask good questions and don’t be afraid to ask them. You’ll have much to offer, but remember there will be others there with a lot more experience. Be open to learning from their experience.

Stay in the loop but avoid gossip.
It’s hard sometimes to resist listening to or contributing to gossip. But, in order to be a trusted colleague, you must resist that temptation.

Don’t be afraid to take risks.
Sometimes those risks will have big payoffs. Even when they don’t, you’ll still learn something.

Everyone needs a good editor.
 A good editor will make your work sparkle. Welcome the constructive criticism, which ultimately will make you a better writer.

Is there something we’re missing? Let us know.

5 apps to help you stop texting and driving

We all know driving a car isn’t always easy, particularly in the summer. There are so many distractions. Cute girls (or guys) in shorts who are walking by. Great songs blaring. Bright sun in your eyes.

The last thing you should do text or email. But, it’s so tempting, right?

Keep in mind that each day in the United States more than nine people are killed and more than 1,060 people are hurt in crashes that involved a distracted driver, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And, you definitely don’t want that to happen to you or someone you care about.

Our friends at Hack College have found four apps, and we found one more, that will help you resist the temptation to text.

DriveSafe.ly
This app is available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry users. Activate it, and it will read your texts aloud so you don’t have to pick up your phone to read them yourself. You can also activate a pre-set message that will let people know you’re driving when they text you. And it’s free.

Drivescribe
This free app is available for iPhone and Android users. If you’re interested in becoming a better driver, this app will help you. It offers safety tips and eliminates distractions. It also tracks your mileage, any violations you may have while you drive and your average speed.

Text-STAR
This app is available for Android users; iPhone version is coming soon. This app will auto respond to any text and calls you get while you’re driving, thus eliminating any distraction.

The Canary Project
This app is for parents and will notify them when their children are using their phone while driving. This app is available for iPhone and Android devices. While there is a seven-day free trial, there is a one-time fee for a lifetime subscription.

AT&T DriveMode
This app, which is free to AT&T customers, sends an auto-reply message letting your family and friends know that you’re on the road, and you’ll get back to them when you’re not driving. While your phone is in DriveMode, texts and emails cannot be read or composed. However, you’re always able to call 911. This app is available to Android users.

Other suggestions

This isn’t an app but another way to help you stop texting while driving: Put your phone where you can’t reach it, like the trunk. Or, you could give your phone to your passenger who can text for you. Or, you can shut off your notifications. If you can’t hear a text or email coming in, you won’t be distracted to look at your phone.

Good luck and stay safe.

10 ways to start a meaningful conversation

We’ve posted before about the importance of networking, of making connections with other professionals and cultivating relationships with them. But, how exactly do you do that?  How do you start a conversation with someone when you enter a roomful of people you don’t know?

You’re going to have to know how to start a conversation, to make a memorable first impression.  Our friends at Livehack have 10 suggestions on how to start a meaningful conversation.

1. You had me at hello.July22Photo
Your approach doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple hello accompanied by a heartwarming smile is a highly effective ice breaker.

2. Say something nice.
Another effective and well-received technique is complimenting someone on what he/she is wearing.

3. Share your pain.
Waiting in a long line to get a drink or use the restroom? Complaining about it with someone in line with you is a good way to establish a pact that unites both of you against a common enemy.

4. Talk about the weather? Yep.
This will work because everyone has an opinion about the weather and is usually willing to freely express that opinion.

5. Tell a good story.
Everyone likes a good story. But remember, the key word is good.

6. Talk food to me.
Everyone loves to eat and drink. Is someone drinking an exotic-looking drink? Ask him/her about it. It’s a great way to start a conversation.

7. What’s in a name?
At most of these events folks will be wearing nametags. That’ll give you the opportunity to ask about someone’s name, which is a good conversation starter.

8. Do you work here?
Most people like to talk about themselves. Once they answer that question, you can follow up with others: “What do you do here? Do you like your job? How long have you worked here?”

9. Tell a joke.
Jokes can be some of the best conversation starters. But if you’re not comfortable telling one – it’s tricky, after all – avoid this suggestion.

10. Honesty is still the best policy.
Is there someone in the room you just want to talk to? You don’t have to manufacture a reason. Just tell him/her you wanted to talk to him/her. Your mother was right: Honesty really is the best policy.

Do you have any suggestions? If so, let us know, and we’ll add them to our list.

It’s time to be fearless. Here’s 14 ways to do it

We all want to be great, but often something holds us back. Fear. Whether we’re afraid of failing, falling or freaking out. Our friends at Lifehack offer 14 ways you can overcome your fear — and ultimately be great.

Admit you have fear.
That’s the first step. Write down what you fear.

Look at fearless people.
What do they look like?  Fill your brain with their images so you know what you want to look like without fear.

Be objective.
Figure out objectively what makes you fearful and why.

Be willing to look dumb.
No one succeeds right away. When you’re willing to make mistakes, you’ll shed your fear.  And learn from your mistakes.

Be grateful.
Trade your feelings of fear for gratitude. Are you trying something new? Instead of fearing the outcome, be grateful that you’re able to take on this new challenge.

Find teachers.
Find someone who will be honest with you who can give you clear direction on how to overcome what scares you.

Share.
By sharing your fearful feelings with others you’ll realize you’re not alone. Others are scared of something as well.

Embrace struggle.
We often avoid struggle. But we will only develop skills when we embrace and surpass our struggles.

Read.
Read ways to help overcome what frightens you.

Visualize.
See yourself as fearless. That’s what you should look like.

PhotoForJuly17PostPut things in perspective.
In the overall scheme of things, is your fear really that significant?

Release control.
Allow yourself to make mistakes. After all, we learn from our failures.

Consider the worst-case scenario.
Now realize that whatever that is, life will still go on. Your mother (or father or wife or husband or best friend or boyfriends/girlfriend) will still love you.

Look within.
Really think about what scares you. How long have you been afraid of it? Take the time to explore within.

Now go do it. Be fearless.

The 25 healthiest colleges in the United States + 1

Recently Greatest.com, a health and fitness resource for young people,  published a list of the 25 healthiest colleges in the United States. 

But, we take a bit of offense to this list. Why? Because we weren’t on it. After all, we offer some of the same health-related amenities that many of these featured colleges and universities do. But, probably because we’re smaller, we escaped their notice.

So, just so you know …  Our students can:

  • Work out in our large fitness center, which features many treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers and stationary bikes along with free weights and weight machines.
  • Swim in a six-lane, NCAA-regulation swimming pool, move in the dance studio and play some hoops in the arena in the Richard E and Ruth McDowell Sport and Fitness Center.SwimmingPoolforJuly15Post
  • Take a wide assortment of physical education classes, including fly fishing , aerobics, tennis, downhill skiing and snowboarding, ice skating, martial arts and Hapkido.
  • Hike along the 1.5-mile Richard E. McDowell Community Trail, which runs along the south end of campus and also connects to a longer trail through town.
  • Participate in the Outdoor Club, which schedules lots of activities to get students moving, including on-campus activities such as basketball, broom hockey, flag football and softball and trips to off-campus locations to go white-water rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, downhill and cross-county skiing, hiking, horseback riding, zip lining, etc.

RockClimbing2

And, if that weren’t enough, we also have an all fresh-foods, all-the-time dining hall, and our dining staff will make special meals for students with food allergies or those who are vegetarians.

Kelsey Milliron, a social sciences major, is an ovo-lacto vegetarian who is also allergic to gluten and admits she’s “extremely hard to feed. But Pitt-Bradford has made it easy on me by catering to my needs,” including making her veggie burgers and homemade hummus. “The staff makes sure I’m taken care of.”

So … if you think we should have been on that list just let us know.

31 things you need to know about college

Getting ready to start college? Or, do you have a son or daughter who is? Well, as you can imagine, there’s a lot you need to know. The College Bound network  offers 31 things you need to know.

We’re not going to list all 31, but here are some of the highlights:

Someone on campus will try to get you to sign up for a credit card
It’s going to be tempting, but don’t give in. After all, how easy is it to spend, spend, spend using that credit card. And then, you’re going to have to pay it all back, which won’t be nearly as fun as the spending part.

Meet your professors and take advantage of office hours ForJuly10Post
It’s a good idea to get to know your professors and have them get to know you. There are many ways to do this, including asking questions in class, talking to them before or after class, or talking to them during their office hours.

Don’t skip those first few classes
It may be tempting to skip. After all, what will you be doing anyway? But don’t. In those first classes, you’ll get your class syllabus and find out everything you need to know for the semester. Plus, missing class will send a bad message to your professor.

Packing all of your classes into a couple of days may not be a good idea
While it seems like a good idea – doing that will give you a class-free day or two – keep in mind that those all-classes days will likely mean you won’t have any breaks in between. And, if you happen to get sick on a class day, you’ll be really behind.

SecondPhotoforJuly10PostGet to know your fellow students
Knowing who is in class with you will come in handy if you miss a class and need someone to fill you in or if you’d like to have someone to study with for a test.

Talk to your roommate before school starts and figure out who’s bringing what
You don’t need two TVs or three bean bag chairs. In fact, it’s a good idea to check with the school and see what it provides for its residence halls first. You might also want to check out our Top 10 Secrets to College Success: