Three Ways to Reduce the Stress of Classes


“Without struggle, there is no progress.”-Unknown

We’ve all been there. The one class that you just can’t seem to understand. No matter how much you study for the class, the best grade you might get is a C. Any math class I took, I struggled. It wasn’t that I wasn’t paying attention or didn’t understand the material, there was just something that I couldn’t wrap my head around that prevented me from being as successful as I wanted to be. However, throughout my struggle, I have found ways that have helped me achieve much more than I could if I hadn’t followed these tips. Here are three ways to help you in the class you are struggling in.

1. Attend your class and Get to know your Instructor.

Even though this might seem obvious, I know I’ve skipped a class that I couldn’t stand because I couldn’t understand what was going on in class. But to earn those good grades, you need to attend not just the classes you struggle in, but all of your classes. In class, you have a chance to learn the material better than just reading from the textbook. Often, teachers or professors will add individual notes to emphasize an idea while working with the textbook, which you might miss if you don’t attend class. Participating and listening to lectures also help you understand the material much better than reading in the textbook. In addition to learning exponentially better, going to class allows you to learn about your teacher. Teachers have their own systems and expectations in their class and getting to know what they want would save you one or two points. You have no idea how many times I’ve missed points because I didn’t format things the way my teacher likes. Even if it might not be correct, following what your professors want will help your grade.


2. Let your Instructor know you’re struggling.

If you’re struggling and looking for some extra help in class, don’t overlook the resources that are right in front of you. Teachers are the best resource if you require help. They teach the material so they have background knowledge and they are there to help you. Teachers need to know if you are struggling because they can help you get back on track. Coming after school or during a free period/study hall is a great time to get some extra help; as long as you don’t get help when it’s too late. Trying to get help late is not only frustrating to the teacher, but it wouldn’t benefit you because teachers won’t be able to go in depth in the topics you are struggling with. So let your teachers know early that you need help and set up a time that works for the both of you so you can succeed in your class.

3. Study!!!

Earlier, I said that studying is sometimes a hassle when it doesn’t seem to help you understand the material. However, when you follow the steps above, studying can help you achieve the highest possible grade. Sometimes developing a study habit is all that you need in order to succeed. Personally, I like to spend at least an hour a day to look over the new material that I have learned from the school day in order to make sure that I understand the material. Studying early on and as much as possible allows for you to feel less stressed out and gives you more time to learn the material. Finding an area you know you won’t be distracted is a way to maximize your learning. And if you need to study with a group, do not be afraid to form a study group because you probably aren’t the only one struggling with a class. However, make sure that it isn’t a social event (like all my study groups) and that you actually get your work done.

I hope these tips will help you out this upcoming year. Leave a comment down below if you have any questions. And as always make sure you follow us on Instagram and Facebook.




How I Spent my SECOND Month of College at USC

I had another great month and I can't believe I am having all of these one-of-a-kind experiences here on campus and in Los Angeles. I can't wait to look back at the end of freshman year and see all that I have done. I hope these posts give you a sense of what life is like at USC.

(1-2) Going on rides at Santa Monica Pier

(3) Seeing the Queen of Katwe Cast after a private screening of the movie before its release. (YES, I was literally feet from Lupita N'yongo)

(4) Visiting the NBCUniversal lot and hearing from tons of USC Annenberg alum about their experiences working at NBC and in the media industry.

(5) Watching the first presidential debate with my classmates while eating great pizza, subway, and other snacks.

(6-7) Seeing Drake and Future in concert at the Forum in Inglewood.

(8) Working as an Associate Producer for the campus TV Station Trojan Vision, on the show the Morning Brew. Every week we have new guests: YouTubers, actors, musicians and more!

(9) Visiting home in Atlanta for a few days this past weekend. Coming back to California was difficult after eating home-cooked meals and sleeping in my own bed!


How to Ask for Help When You Are Struggling in School


Option for who/where to ask for help when you are struggling with a certain topic, situation, or class.

“You can do anything but not everything” -David Allen

Asking for help can be hard for many reasons. We are admitting that we aren’t perfect and for some who always understood everything in school, asking for help is quite difficult.  That fear of being seen vulnerable can cause us to think that we may are stupid or give us a sense that people have lost respect for us. But asking for help is a necessary life lesson.  Help is always available even though you may feel like there is no one around. Asking for help is the first step toward progress.

1. Accept it and you will receive it

The first step of getting help is accepting that you need it. This is always the hardest part for most us. For a student who has never needs to ask for help suddenly realizing that they are struggling, it’s debilitating. However, you have to swallow your pride because without accepting that you can’t do it on your own, you will go nowhere. When you are not moving forward, the feeling of frustration and torturing yourself for hours is a worse feeling than just going forward and finding someone who can assist you.

2.What do you need?

Now that you’ve admitted that you need help, the next step is to determine what exactly you need help with. This will help you in finding the right person to help you. When you determine where the issue is, it become a lot easier to find someone to help as well as easier to communicate to this person where you need help. One way to accomplish this is by creating a list of things you need help with in order of desperation: the most important to the least important. Next to your problem, list the people you know that could assist you and how they can assist you with your problem. This makes it easier to approach them and get straight to the point so that they can help you quicker.


3.Find Someone

The next step is finding someone to help you. As mention above, when you have a plan of attack; what you need help on, why you need help, and why that person can help you; it will be a lot easier to find someone. Asking for help from your friend and family is a lot easier than a professional because its common amongst people you know understand you. However, in situations you feel as though need professional help, seek out someone you know if qualified to help. In a class you are struggling in, a teacher or tutor can be helpful. If you are chronically unhappy, seeking out the help of a counselor or a doctor can provide you with an answer. Professionals, our friends, and family, they exist to help you.



Thanking your helper is the last step to receiving help. You don’t always have to give them a gift but simply helping them is a good sign of faith. Telling them how much you appreciated their help means that in the future, they will be willing to help you again. They may even come back and ask you for help in the future.

I hope these tips will help you out these upcoming years. Leave a comment down below if you have any questions. And as always make sure you follow us on Instagram and Facebook.



Fresh Place, Fresh Start!: Tips for Studying Abroad Freshman Year


Why wait to study abroad? Here are 10 reasons not to! When you start applying to colleges, you are most likely not thinking about studying abroad right away. Perhaps you have thought about studying in another country at some point in your college career, maybe during your sophomore or junior year. However, you are probably expecting your first semester at a university to be traditional, starting with orientation, move-in day, and adjustment to the typical college life. I am here to tell you that the ordinary freshman year experience is not the only option and not even necessarily the best.


Whether or not you have heard of people studying abroad so early on in their college career, it has become increasingly popular. Northeastern University’s program sends students to one of six international locations his/her first semester. The University of Delaware World Scholars Program includes studying abroad freshman year in Rome, Italy or Madrid, Spain. Countless other institutions offer spring admission to their universities as well, with the option of spending the fall semester abroad at one of their partner institutions. There is also always the option of seeking a degree at an abroad university.


When I was applying to colleges, studying abroad first semester had never even crossed my mind. Truthfully, I hardly even knew that it was a possibility. However, I was informed of this opportunity when I was admitted to my top university second semester. I have always loved travelling and knew that I wanted to study internationally at some point during my four years at college, but going abroad my freshman year definitely seemed daunting at first. When I finally enrolled for the spring semester at my university in the United States, I applied to three different colleges abroad where I would potentially spend my first semester and ultimately chose to go to Rome, Italy. I have been here for three weeks so far and have already discovered many of the benefits of studying abroad first semester. Here is a list of the ten things I have learned so far about studying abroad and why I believe you should do so if you can, even your freshman year!


  1. The growth in maturity you experience while studying abroad is impressive. I have already noticed a change in my level of maturity, and I have been in Rome for less than a month. You will find yourself adapting to your new environment every day, and you will grow confident that you can continue to do so while travelling on weekends. If I could learn how to do laundry, cook, and navigate so quickly in Rome, you can too.


  1. Another benefit of studying abroad in a country with a different main language is that you get the chance to practice this language with locals! I took Italian for three years in high school and am taking it again this semester in Rome. Being exposed to Italian speakers every day has helped me immensely in my study of the language. Even my friends who only knew two words in Italian upon their arrival here have improved so much over these past few weeks. If you are really concerned about the language barrier, you are bound to find people who at least speak a little English. Plus, the majority of the music played here is American music, including great throwbacks, which is a major plus.



  1. One of the best parts of studying abroad is the ability to travel on weekends. Living in Europe or on another continent in general for four months makes it much easier to see the places you have dreamed of visiting. Also, when you make friends who want to travel as well, they will often introduce you to new places that you might have never otherwise seen. For instance, two of my friends and I wanted to take a day trip during our second weekend, and one of them found a place called Tivoli in Italy, which was only an hour train ride away, costing a mere two Euros. We went the next day, had a great time, and left with amazing new memories. The chance to be spontaneous in travelling is one of the highlights of studying abroad, and it gives you not only a crazy story but also a sense of independence.


  1. You will find that your sense of direction has improved dramatically within days. Living in a place with different types of roads and fewer street signs, you have to learn to get around somehow early on. Within my first three days here, I learned to find my way around pretty well. Now, having already taken weekend trips, I have realized that this skill has transcended Rome. I am now able to navigate my way through a new town or city within hours.



  1. One of the most enjoyable parts of studying abroad is meeting locals on a daily basis.  They are often very friendly, welcoming, and willing to try to communicate with you. You are bound to have a bunch of local friends on Snapchat by the end of your semester! It is incredibly interesting to live temporarily in the place they have lived their whole lives and to see how this place has shaped them. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with them and to practice your language skills! You just might gain an Instagram follow or a Facebook friend in the process.


Like-minded People

  1. When you study abroad, you are introduced to a group of people with whom you are bound to have a lot in common. You will meet people with such interesting stories and will have the opportunity to build strong relationships with them, especially since you will most likely travel with people you meet while abroad.

Crazy Opportunities

  1. You will have such unique opportunities while studying abroad! I can go to class on a Monday afternoon and hang out and enjoy gelato at the Trevi Fountain on Monday night. I was introduced to an app called Scooterino, which is essentially a type of Uber used in Rome. However, instead of picking you up in cars, drivers pick you up and take you to your destination on a vespa. When I had to go to a bookstore to buy my textbooks, I was dropped off on a vespa. It was insane.

*Spontaneity is key. On a Sunday night, I got out of bed to grab a water bottle from a vending machine downstairs when a few girls told two of my friends and I about a music festival taking place down the block. I sprinted to my room, grabbed my purse, and we ran to the festival in our pajamas. We ended up spending the night dancing and singing outside in a piazza next to the Tiber River and making one of our favorite memories so far.


Food :P

  1. You will be exposed to some of the best food in the world while abroad! You can find unique, delectable dishes no matter where you choose to go. Some of the most delicious pizza and pasta are down the street from my apartment. Trust me; I take advantage of this daily. Then, there’s the gelato. Enough said.

On-Site Classes

  1. Another really cool aspect of studying abroad is the chance to take on-site classes. My art history class is based on the art and architecture of Rome and Florence during the Renaissance period, and we get to go as a class to visit the monuments we learn about in class. We even have a mandatory weekend trip to Florence with the class! These classes are not only interesting, but also incredibly informative. The feeling of walking down the streets of your new home, recognizing different buildings, and knowing about their past is nothing short of incredible.

Learning Outside the Classroom

Classes are important, and you should still do your homework, even if you are in another country for the semester. However, I have found that I have learned even more outside the classroom here than I have in my classes. Literally, I have been able to visit and learn about museums and sights like the Coliseum and the Spanish Steps, but I have also learned so much about myself and my ability to adapt to new settings. My confidence has grown in my capability of balancing my time and keeping myself on track in my daily schedule while living on my own in a foreign country. The best part is that these skills I have been developing will surpass my time here and my time in college as a whole. Being thrown into a foreign country, especially when you are a freshman in college, might sound intimidating, but with the help of friends and mentors, you will be in for one of the greatest experiences of your life!



The Truth About the First Day of College


How that first day makes you realize how big everything truly is.

Well it’s happened, summer came and summer has gone. You’ve partied, traveled, and most importantly, slept. Now comes the real world, college.

I just started my freshman year at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. This university is very prestigious in Puerto Rico and is considered to be the best university in the Caribbean; it’s an honor if you are able to attend. When I got accepted my family was more excited than I was since I was following in the footsteps of my aunts who had both graduated from there and had loved every second of it. The thing is that I never dreamed to attend that school, in fact I had no interest in it because there are always a lot of protests or what we call them in Spanish, “huelgas”. When a “huelga” happens, the university is shut down completely while students remain inside doing protests. I remember that the last big protest happened about seven years ago and it was so big that students chained themselves to the gates so that no one could get in or out.

Today, 18-year-old me thinks that those protests are the best part about the university, but not for the reason you may think. I just love that the school is so liberal and that everyone can express themselves freely. When you walk on to campus, the first thing you’ll notice is that the sidewalks are filled with graffiti of phrases and words about current situations that students oppose. They mostly involve the current economic state of Puerto Rico; I won’t get into detail about it.


So there I was this past August 8th, 2016, standing in those graffiti sidewalks looking at the long way I had to walk to get to my first ever college class. I was very nervous, and hungry. It was a 7am class and I had to eat breakfast on campus and that was my first stop. I go to the University Center and purchase a sandwich at Burger King. I eat it on my way to the DMN, the General Studies building, and sit outside my classroom. I was sitting there and a professor walks by and sticks a paper on the door. I stand up and look at it and my stomach dropped, it said “CISO moved to ERA 213”, my class was moved not only from rooms but from buildings. When I looked at my watch it said 6:55 and the building was very far away. I did what I could, I grabbed my bag and ran. I got very lost as you can imagine but I found the building. When I finally entered the classroom, the class had already started, to my horror. To me, it was the worst first impression you can give on your first day of college. Luckily the professor was aware of the change and he did not get mad or anything at all of the students who were late.

In my college, all freshmen are called “prepas” and during the first day of college the “prepas” are bullied by the other students. It’s nothing serious; they just yell “PREPA” very loudly or make us dance the Macarena or “La Pelua” a traditional Puertorrican party dance. They mean well later on, wishing us luck and happy trails. Still, getting called “prepa” is something that must be avoided and over the years, incoming freshmen have developed a set of rules to avoid it. Some of those rules include:

  • Don’t wear any college gear at all during the first week or two.
  • Don’t show up the first day like a fashionista, wear the least attractive clothes you have.
  • If you see any of your high school friends, don’t run to them, just wave at them.
  • Don’t hang out in such large groups.
  • The most important one of them all, if you get lost DO NOT ask for directions. If you truly are desperate, ask a security guard or maintenance people.

Those are just some of the few unwritten rules for incoming freshmen and obviously those are not for the whole year, they are just for the first month.

I spent the entire first day doing everything possible so that no one knew I was a “prepa”. I had a map of the campus on my phone and I pretended to text or something anytime I needed to look at it; I had my class schedule there too. As fate would have it, I got very lost, again. I didn’t see anyone, other than students, who could help me so I came up with a solution: I called my cousin who is currently a sophomore. She laughed and came to my rescue, literally, I was so lost that she had to come get me and take me to the building.

When I returned home after that first day, I was exhausted. I had never been that tired in a long time. The thing about college that you don’t realize until you are there is how much you walk or run, in my case. It’s incredible how much you need to walk because everything is so distant. My theory is that when this school year ends my legs will be so fit that it will make Blake Lively jealous. I can’t feel them and I just finished this week. I’m guessing this is payback for never liking gym class.

My advice for students who are on a big campus, wear running shoes and a watch that way you can be comfortable and keep track of time. I did not wear running shoes, I wore Converse and they destroyed my feet the first day because I wore the wrong socks. After that accident I wore a pair of very comfortable flats and that day it rained, no it didn’t rain, the sky fell and my flats turned to water-shoes. I finished the week in boots and it went well.

During this first week, we didn’t take classes per se, the professors just discussed their plans for the semester and what not. We were later told of upcoming projects and exams. It was at that moment that I realized that my life was a mess. Guys! Get a planner for college! It is more necessary than a phone! I’m not exaggerating when I say that after almost having a crisis that day I bought a planner the next morning. My planner at least shows me that a part of my life is organized.


It is totally normal to be a nervous wreck the days before college. Believe me, I was stressing out the week before. Personally my biggest insecurity was that I would walk in and not like the place one bit. What are my thoughts about the place one week later? I really love the patio found in the Humanities building. I go there every day and just sit there and look at people, not in a creepy way, I just like to observe how life goes on. The train ride there is so therapeutic to me! I just sit there, put on my headphones and it is so relaxing. The library is amazing too, I love how there are people working on their computers and there are others watching Netflix. I just love how you can meet or just observe all these different kinds of people who you never see in high school.

I have finished my first week as a “prepa” and how do I feel? Normal and dare I say, more free. I have a newfound sense of freedom and I kind of like it. I am prepared to conquer next week and to wear all of my college gear next month.

The most important piece of advice I can give you is to flow like a river during those first few days. College is a big place and you are just dropped there and you are just another student. It’s not like high school where everyone knew each other. While some people will give you advice on how to adjust, you’ll realize that you are not the same and what could make them comfortable might make you uncomfortable. You have to flow like the river until you find your pace and what will help you adjust. You can start by finding a place in campus where you can just sit and relax. Explore campus during your free time and find a good place to eat. Meet new people however you are comfortable. You can do a lot of things in college and it is all up to you.

Good luck to everyone and here’s to a great freshman year!



How I Spent My First Month of College at USC 


1. Moving in and decorating my side of the dorm room

I really wanted to make my dorm as comfortable and reflective of my personality as possible so I went all out on my decorations.

Watch my College Dorm Haul here and Move In Day Vlog here.

2. Participating in Welcome Week activities

After moving in on August 15, freshman participated in a week of programs and activities to get accomidated to living at USC. The residents of Birnkrant Residential College went on a trip to a Los Angeles Angels baseball game to kick off the week.

Welcome week also included an activities fair, social events, and more fun things to fill our schedules.

3. Meeting the man in charge

USC president, Max Nikias, came by the honors residential college to take photos with us. 

4. Going to Santa Monica Beach...twice

One of my favorite places is the beach and me and a few girls on my floor took advantage of the beautiful Santa Monica. We sunbathed, ate cheeseburgers and shakes at Pier Burger, and went shopping.

5. Seeing amazing performers on campus

Visions and Voices is an on campus arts initiative that brings famous arts performers to campus. Events are free for all students. At their kick off events I was able to see Javon Johnson, a spoken word poet, and take pictures with him after the event.

6. Seeing Mike Will Made-It live right outside my dorm

Every year the USC concert committee throws a welcome back concert, free to all students. There was a surprise appearance from Jerimih and other collaboratives with Mike Will.

7. Attending events for organizations I care about

During the first month of college you spend A LOT of time going to club meetings and figuring out how you want to spend your time in college. Here I am pictured at a reception for the Black Alumni Association.

8. Attending the Kicks film screening before it released in theaters 

Kicks is a feature film that was just released in September 2016. It won awards at the TriBeCa Film Fest and other film festivals. I got to see the film before it hit theaters and have conversation with the director, Justin Tipping, and two actors from the film.

9. Purchasing a cruiser to get around campus 

A large portion of USC students use bikes, skateboards, penny boards, and long boards, to get around campus. I decided to join the bandwagon and get a bright yellow cruiser.

10. Attending my first game at the Colesium

We played the Utah Aggies and beat them big time! The game was at 11am so it was extremely hot in the stadium. However, fans, alumni, and students were still all around campus tailgating at 6AM. Tons of free food, souvenirs, and good times.

11. Listening to the Young Turks during their on campus live show

The Young Turks produce a show for Fusion based on political topics that Milleneals care about. They are currently traveling across the country visiting college campuses to see what issues students care about. Watch the show they recorded at USC Annenberg here and look for me in the audience!

12. Utilizing my unlimited dining hall swipes to eat icecream every single day without shame

There is no better way to finish the day off than with a cone! (Don't worry it is froyo.)


6 Clever Apps That Make Being An International Student Easier


As an international student, transitioning into college or university can be stressful—and that's without the change of climate, culture shock, or language barrier—so here are six savvy hacks to make your international studies easy-breezy!

1.Becoming a money-saving master:

Trying to scrounge up a few extra dollars for the next lunch of Raman noodles is the sad reality of most college student's lives, but lucky for you, keeping track of your money couldn't be easier.

Mint, an app available for free on iOS, Android or desktop, easily connects to your bank account to manage all aspects of your activity, including spending, savings, earnings and budgeting. (They also update a cheeky, informative blog called MintLife for all your financial/lifestyle questions).

This well-trusted app also determines your spending habits and can alert you whenever you're nearing your budget limit, keeping your credit in line and extra cash in your hand.

2.Knowing your way around the city like a pro:

Navigating through a brand new area, especially a large place like California or New York, can be intimidating and downright irritating. But how do all of those other people get around so quickly? Easy; they know the ins and outs of the city, and soon you will too. Google Maps is a great GPS tool for newbies, but knowing the city is about more than just recognising the street names—It's about discovering the local shops and attractions, as well.

Like A Local, a free app, is exactly what the title claims to be. This handy app tells you what the locals' favourites are around your area. Now you can let yourself explore while staying away from those tricky tourist attractions.

3.Getting the best value for your buck:

Even with the confusion of foreign currency, you'll be the best sale-scavenger around if you utilise one of the most accessible, underrated tools out there: coupons. I'm not talking about your grandma's $1.00 off Dish Soap discounts, either. How does up to 85% off your retail purchase sound? Sounds like my wallet is yelling, "hallelujah!"

Apps and websites like Yowza and Groupon offer sales that can save you big time, and here's how it works—Just type in the store/item you're looking for into the search bar, and the app will give you a selection of coupon codes to enter into the 'discount' section on your chosen store's website.

There are also coupon apps that offer digital discounts that allow you to save your chosen coupon, then present it on your phone at the check out in-store. Just like Grandma, except more $$ saved and it's much more convenient.


4.Effortlessly keeping on track with your priorities:

Organising any priorities for the day should be a habit that any university student utilises—especially international students. Within the hectic mixture of moving, having new classes, meeting new friends, and all the other struggles that non-international students don't have, a to-do list is a must. The easiest way to keep track of your assignments, or whatever else you need to do, is to remind yourself. Sound's simple, right? It is. With technology, to-do lists have been modernised into something that's reliable and simple, and it's never been easier to remember things.

My personal favourite for this specific task is Wunderlist; Wunderlist is an app (plus it's available for download to your desktop!) that helps you organise your busy life in a minimalistic, trustworthy fashion.

5.Acing your classes with flying colours:

The reason you even became, or are thinking of becoming, an international student is because of the education opportunities, right? You should make sure that your class marks stay in tip-top shape by using Evernote.

If you had to pick only one of the apps listed , Evernote should be the one you choose. It's the smooth-running, multitasking king of organisation, equipped with note taking, bookmarking, online chat with other students, to-do lists, and more!

So whether discovering convenient, local shops is your forte, or if you're more of a study-on-the-go type of person, hopefully you can find some great resources within these top six apps! Good luck on your journey to a new life, and don't forget to let us know in the comments if you've ever tried one of these apps!