Tuesday Tip: Building a Support Network in College

Whether you’re planning to attend college in a new town, go to community college or take credit-by-exam tests like CLEP, surrounding yourself with a group of mentors can help you achieve your goals and guide you during college.

For more information about how to create this network, see Chapter 8: Where to Go for Help in College Without the Campus.

You can find more Tuesday Tip videos about lifelong learning and the millennial life on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUu4KrpBnEg3dDTwhYwXBfw

Black mortarboard from College Without the Campus

College Without Hillary Harshman and Chelann Giengerthe Campus and Dear Millennial,

Finding Your Purpose & Affordable College

Millennials: Want to create a path to your goals and stay motivated during the journey? Come to Auntie’s Bookstore and meet peers Chelann Gienger and Hillary Harshman. Chelann is 21 years old and has been running her own brick-and-mortar business for three years! Hillary earned her bachelor’s degree for less than $10,000 by skipping the campus and earning credit while in high school. They will share how they stayed motivated to pursue their passions and reach their business and education goals. There will also be a raffle for a $25 Auntie’s Bookstore gift card.

Their book event is at Auntie’s on Thursday, March 15 from 7-8pm. You can find details at Auntie’s events page.

For more about Chelann, see https://www.chelanngienger.com/dear-millennial. To learn about Hillary’s college journey, visit http://hillaryharshman.com/college-without-the-campus/.

Black mortarboard from College Without the Campus

Successful Dropout Podcast and Interview

Thanks to a visit with a new friend at my recent book signing, I was asked to do an interview on the Successful Dropout podcast! The host is Kylon Gienger, a young entrepreneur who shares tools for young adults wanting to skip college and go straight to entrepreneurship. Kylon invited me on his show to bring a different perspective for the years right after high school graduation, especially for those listeners who plan to go to college.

Not only did I have a blast chatting with Kylon about some of the techniques that I share in my book to earn a $15,000 bachelor’s degree in two years, but I was also inspired by his story and the stories from the Successful Dropout community: a group of people who want to better their lives and the lives of those around them.

My favorite quote from the episode is Kylon talking about how to know when you’re on the right track—how to know that you’re living to your full potential. We were discussing how each of us had found the courage to choose and follow a non-traditional path after high school: Kylon dropping out of college and me deciding to study off campus. Kylon says,

“Some of the best experiences you’ll ever have in life are the things that you were once afraid to do. … If you’re feeling just a little bit of fear, you’re probably doing what you’re supposed to be doing.”

I’ve listened to three other interviews that Kylon has done, including the episode with his sister Chelann, and I learned something from all three. I hope today’s podcast will inspire you to grow, to find mentors who push you, and, as we talked about in the interview, to just not worry so much. 🙂

Successful Dropout: http://successfuldropout.com/

47: Earn your bachelor’s degree for $15,000 in only two years with Hillary Harshman

Black mortarboard from College Without the Campus

How to Reduce Test Anxiety

How do you respond to taking tests? Testing is one activity that is a part of life for most of us, and despite its ubiquity, it brings feelings of dread to many people. Tests crop up in school, work, extra-curricular certifications, and even workouts! Because tests are a perennial part of life, I share two test-taking techniques that have helped me manage my testing nerves.

Out of all the types of tests I’ve taken, such as end-of-the-school-year tests, computer tests, quizzes, CPR tests, CLEP tests, language exams, and swimming tests, the one type of test that most unnerved me (and gave me good skills for taking credit-by-exam tests) was piano syllabus tests.

The piano program I participated in had one test for Levels 1 through 10. At each level the student was required to learn specific music theory, demonstrate music skills, and play a certain number of pieces from different eras. I typically completed one level yearly, so every spring I would put my acquired knowledge to the test. It was a doable task, to be sure. But something about having to prepare such a well-rounded set of skills and have them all top-notch on a particular date made me nervous.

When the testing day came, I needed to remain calm. Scheduling the test in the morning was helpful, so I didn’t have as long to worry. Meanwhile, I trained my mind toward the test benefits—I had learned new repertoire and bolstered my music skills. Once I arrived to the test location, I mentally pictured myself walking out of the room after the test having done my best. This post-test visualization is one of the most helpful tips I have for test taking. The more vividly I could picture myself successful at the finish line of the test, the more peace I had while waiting to begin. Visualizing success is well known to athletes who report improved performance and confidence.[1]

Another strategy is to confront my worst fears. This wasn’t as effective on the day of the test, but a day or two before testing this strategy was quite helpful. I would imagine what would happen if I broke down into tears during the test—embarrassing for sure, but nothing else would happen. I would get it back together and continue. If I failed the test, I could retake the test at the next available opening, or I could review the material on my own and then move forward without completing this level. Though the path to move forward after failure depends on the specific test, there will almost certainly be a way to move forward.

Testing can bring up many of the more uncomfortable emotions such as fear, anxiety, nervousness, nausea, loss of focus, and even physical pain. Who in their right mind would purposely do something to trigger these emotions? I know why we do. Once I have tackled a test, I am stronger. I have not shrunk from what I know must be done. This boldness brings new resolution to the test taker. So, pass or fail, let’s conquer our tests!

What are your favorite ways to combat test anxiety?

[1] Matt Mayberry, “The Extraordinary Power of Visualizing Success,” https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242373 and

Carolyn Gregoire, “The Brain-Training Secrets Of Olympic Athletes,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/11/mind-hacks-from-olympic-a_n_4747755.html.