5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Community College

Now that we are coming up on spring time, a lot of high school seniors are narrowing down their list of where they want to go to college. Graduation is getting closer and the reality of having to pick a college to go to is upon you. Maybe you’re not ready to pick the place where you will spend the next four years of your life. Maybe you don’t have any idea what to study. Maybe you don’t even know if college is for you. That’s totally and completely okay.
If you are worried about financing your post-secondary education, you are not alone. Many students have that same worry. College costs are rising, and community college is a good option, at least for the first two years of a degree. Here, I am going to explain, in as much detail as I can, why you should at least consider community college.

Killer Harmony | 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Community College | Your education is important, but don't think that you have to jump into the deep end and go away to a four year school immediately. Community colleges offer the chance to get some credits done, work a little bit, and they even have some programs not offered at a university. Don't knock it til you try it!
1. You save money.
Who doesn’t love money? Plus, if you are in the group of people who have the burden of paying for college entirely on your own-for which I feel bad-the more money you save, the better. Tuition is much cheaper at a community college than at even the cheapest four year university. You also don’t have to account as much for room and board. Your parents may charge rent, but no way would it be more than room and board at a university. Plus, with the flexibility offered at community colleges, it is much easier to work a part time job.

2. You don’t have to fit the stereotypical mold of who goes to community college.
One of the greatest things about community college is that you are in class with people from all walks of life. People of all age ranges, academic backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, etc. will be found at a community college-yes, even people who are considered traditional college students.

3. You have many opportunities.
Even if you go to a relatively small community college, there will be resources and classes there that you won’t find at a four year school. Most community colleges have at least a few technical career programs. A lot of those aren’t offered at a state or private university. You might find that you are really interested in cosmotology or radiological imaging. You (probably) won’t be able to study trades like that at a four year school.

4. You can earn *a* degree quicker.
Since graduates of a community college earn associates degrees, they usually take two years of full time study to complete: half the time it takes to earn a bachelors degree. Now, associates degrees rarely receive the same prestige as bachelors, but if something comes up that derails your plans of finishing a bachelor program, you still have that associates to fall back on. It shows that you started and finished something. Basically, it looks better than simply a couple years of college.

5. You can find out what you really want to do.
It is really hard for most people to know what they want to do when they haven’t had the chance to experience college first hand. It might take a semester or two of exploring your interests to figure out what you really want to spend the bulk of your waking hours doing.

Remember, these are just my opinions and based off of my own experience in community college. There is nothing wrong with going straight to a four year university if that is what you know you want. I wrote this post so that people who are still weighing their options have somewhere to go to learn about community college from someone who has been there done that.
Thanks for reading!

 

Why You Need a Life Binder + How to Create One

One of my favorite tools for organization is definitely my life binder. I of course have my handy dandy Erin Condren Life Planner for daily, weekly, and monthly planning as well as different folders and notebooks to keep school stuff organized. But, it is my life binder that holds important things that I need to keep on file. It is pretty simple to DIY your own life binder, and I am going to tell you what I put in mine and why/how to create one for yourself.

Killer Harmony |Why You Need a Life Binder + How to Create One| Need something to organize more than one part of your life? Life binders allow you to organize your life and are customizable to fit your needs!
What is a life binder? Well, it is a binder where you can store important, usually long term or recurring information. I have everything from legal documents to health documents to a sheet outlining my degree program. The nice thing about these binders is that they can be completely customized to your needs and wants.

What do you have in yours? Since I have quite a few personal documents in my life binder, I am not going to actually show you what is in mine, but I will tell you how I organized it and what goes in there.
In my life binder, I have the following sections: Personal, Health, School, and Other.
In the personal section, I have personal things. That could mean legal stuff or a long term calendar, or important contact details.
In the health section, I put anything that is related to my health. Any receipts from doctors’ visits, prescription receipts, handouts regarding health conditions, doctors notes, it all goes in the binder under “Health”.
In the School section, I keep any important stuff regarding school that does not go under a specific class. This means letters of admission that I received, scholarship information, an unofficial copy of my transcript, a degree outline, and then I also keep things related to enrollment in that section.

Why do I need a life binder? If you are in college or even nearing the end of high school, it is a good idea to have one central place where you can go to look for important documents. If you are not living at home with your parents or you will be moving out soon, you want to have an organization system in place for your own use. It does not take much time or money to set one up, and the time and money you spend doing it now will save you from a lot of hassle later on.

How do I make my own life binder? It is really cheap and quick to get started. I would recommend first gathering everything that you think might fit in your life binder. Most things would fit there, but just give yourself something to start with. Then, categorize the documents and information you have and put them in different piles. This will help you figure out what sections you will need.
Then it is time to gather your materials. I use a one inch binder, but the size will vary based on how much you will be keeping in there. I think one inch is a good starting point. You will also need dividers or tabs of some sort to keep your sections separated.
At this point, decide if you would rather hole punch everything or if you want to use sheet protectors. I, personally, prefer sheet protectors so that things don’t get ruined or fall out. Also, if I need to turn something in, say to financial aid, then I have a nice clean copy that has not been tampered with.
Once you have all of your materials, it is time to start putting everything in your life binder. If you have a calendar or planning section, I would suggest that that is the first section, because you will probably be referencing it often. Although, it is totally up to you on how you decide to organize it.

There you have it! Why you need a life binder and how to create one. As you get older, it is very important to start doing as much for yourself as you can so that you can have an easier transition to adulthood. I have always been an independent person, and so I know this helps other people like me. If you are less independent, it can give you a little sense of freedom and control over your life to have something like a binder to keep everything organized. If you make a life binder or you have one already, be sure to post it on Twitter or Instagram and tag me Twitter: (at)hannahhaefele Intsagram; (at)killerharmony and use the hashtag #killerlifebinder!
Thanks for reading!

Careers for Musicians

So, one of my friends is majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing, and she always jokes about how it’s the perfect combination for unemployment. Well, I don’t know much about what it is like to major in English or what the prospects are, but I can tell you about that stuff in regards to music as a major. I think that music is something that, if you love it, pursue it to no end. Keep going, and don’t stop. That being said, I believe that you can major in music even if your career plans do not include music-at least on the forefront.

Next week, I will giving you guys some insight into the different majors or concentrations that you can pursue within a music program. This week, I am preparing you so that you can start thinking about the end goal, which will then help you determine the best course of study FOR YOU.
I’m breaking it down into a few sections: Music Performance/Composition (like if you want to pursue music and want nothing else to it), Music Education, Music Business/Industry, Careers Outside of Music. First up, straight up music.
Music Performance/Composition
There are not that many careers in the field of performance and composition (other than those in the title), but there are a few. Careers include:
Orchestra Member
Choir Member
Opera Singer
Musical Theatre Singer
Chamber Group Member
Soloist (although you have to be at the VERY top for this one)
Accompanist
Pit Orchestra Musicians
Cruise ship Musician
Composer
Arranger/Orchestration
Transcriber
Music Education
You might think that there’s really only one type of career you can have in the field of music education, but that is far from the truth! Careers include:
Early Childhood Music Teacher
Elementary/General Music Teacher
Choir Director (K-12)
Orchestra/Strings Director (K-12)
Band Director (K-12)
Private Music Instructor
Collegiate Choir/Orchestra/Band/Marching Director
College Music Professor
College Studio (Private Lessons) Instructor
Music Business/Industry
This list is comparably smaller, because I am not too familiar with the commercial side of music. I included those that I have heard of. Careers include:
Producer
Audio/Recording Engineer
Songwriter
Studio Executive
Music Manager
Careers Outside of Music
I would put a list here of the careers that you can pursue outside of the music world, but there are too many to list. Quite frankly, you can pursue just about any career with a music degree. In a music program, you learn a ton of great skills that most employers are looking for, such as team work, time management, and leadership. You also have the opportunity to learn project management and marketing when you do your junior and/or senior recital. The point of this category was not to give a list of non-music careers that you could pursue, because the options are endless. The point of this part was to give you a sense of something (I don’t know what exactly) that if you don’t end up pursuing music professionally, you will be okay. Your degree will not be wasted. In fact, music majors are more likely than any other major to accepted into medical school. Crazy, right?!
So, overall, I think that you have quite a few options for careers after graduation. Music is a good major, if you are willing to put in the work that is required. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I get jealous of my non-music major friends. They have more free time, but I remind myself that it is totally worth it. If music is your passion, you should at least consider studying it in college. Even if you end up deciding that music as a career is not for you (because tbh, I’m still questioning if it is right for me), you will have earned a degree in an amazing subject. You get to study and play music, what could be wrong with that?
So, what is your major (or what will it be)? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

Productivity When Online

So, I don’t know about you guys, but I spend a lot of time online. I mean a lot. As a blogger, I need to be online a lot, and I also need to be productive online. I have had a lot of experience working online and keeping on track with what I had to do. Not only have I been blogging for a while, but I have also had more than my fair share of online classes. Through the different semesters, I have learned how to make the time I spend online as productive as possible.

Killer Harmony | Productivity When Online | How do you spend your time online? Do you have trouble staying on track with homework or other responsibilities? Check out these tips!

*Side Note: I realize that not all of your time online is going to be productive. The internet is a beautiful thing, and it is okay to spend time looking at funny text posts or watching cat videos. If you want to learn more about my tips for being productive when you are online working on school work or an online job, then keep on reading!

Tip #1: Limit your open tabs.
It is very hard to keep focused on something when you have tons of different tabs open with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… You need to limit your open tabs to what is absolutely necessary. I’m not saying you can only have one tab open. You might need a couple tabs to reference different articles for a research paper you are working on. If you are working on something for an art class, you might need to have a couple of tabs open with information and pictures.
When I was writing this post, I had (obviously) my blog composer tab open. I also had my Google calendar open (it is my editorial calendar). I also like to have something (usually music) on in the background on YouTube. If I am working on the final touches of a post, I will also have a tab open for the design program Canva where I make all of my graphics and maybe a photo editor if the post needs some photos.

Tip #2: Track your time.
I know that there are apps you can download to keep track of time, but I usually just wing it. I think it is important to keep track of how long you are working on something, because if you work at something too long, it is easy to lose track of time. If you’re like me, you also need to take some breaks on occasion to keep from going crazy. You also don’t want to be late for anything else you have going on later in the day.

Tip #3: Take breaks.
You don’t want to get bogged down with what you are doing. It is okay to take breaks. Check Facebook. Check Twitter. Reply to any emails that you have. That being said, make sure you close out those extra tabs when you get back to work so that they are not a distraction. You can even take a break from the computer itself and read a book or grab a snack.

Tip #4: Switch things up.
In order to keep things interesting, change the way you work once in awhile. Are you working at your desk? Move somewhere else like the couch or go to a coffee shop. Go to the library. Sometimes a change of scenery can get you fired up to get more done. It can also be helpful to use a different program if possible. If you are working on a paper in MS Word, try switching to Google Docs. Just don’t forget to copy and paste your work.

Tip #5: Don’t force it.
Even though I am a big proponent of getting things done ahead of time, I still believe that if you are not feeling motivated to do anything, you should listen to that. There are some things that you can fudge a little bit and do when you are less motivated, but most things you can’t do that. If you are working on a research paper and you are not feeling it, stop. Put it on the back burner for a few hours or even a day or two. In most cases, working when you don’t want to will lead to sub-par results. You don’t want that, because you will just have to spend as much time editing your work when you are feeling it.

I hope these tips helped to give you ideas on how to be more productive when you are working online. Like I said at the beginning, I have had tons of experience, and so I like to think that I know a lot about how to be productive online. Always remember that if you just can’t stay focused online, that’s okay. You can download a program that will block certain websites for a set amount of time if that is what you need. Or, you can always be the crazy person who uses a pen and paper to do their work.
Thanks for reading!

 

How to Get Through a Mid-Semester Hump

*Cue “My Humps”*
If you are in school, you definitely know the feeling of coming up to midterms and wanting to be done with the entire semester. I get you, midterms are not fun. The middle of the semester can be pretty annoying, especially the spring semester, because you’re this close | | to spring break, except that little space of time is filled with a ton of stress. If you are wanting to figure out how to get through the hump day of the entire semester, keep on reading.
Get (and use) a planner. One of the first things I like to do with anything that I know is going to be stressful is to use my planner. I write down any tests that I have, any major assignments that are due, any meetings or appointments; I make sure to write it all down. Using a paper planner has multiple benefits, more of which you can check out here. I like to write things down, because it makes them easier to remember. I also like to write things down, because then you can schedule times to study or work on different things. Doing that can lower your stress level and show you that your work load is not as bad as it may seem.
Take some time for yourself. Whether you take a spa day, a movie day, or you spend some time with friends, taking time to do something for you will help get your mind off of all of your school worries. I love spending time doing something I enjoy, because it breaks up the monotony of doing schoolwork.
Don’t procrastinate. I know it sounds impossible, but you can do it. It will feel so much better to be done with assignments and studying earlier rather than later. I know that my stress level increases exponentially when I procrastinate. I don’t like scrambling at the last minute to get things done. You probably don’t like scrambling at the last minute to get things done. Don’t put yourself in that position. You can thank me later.
Hey! Did you like what you just read? Do you want more of my tips for getting through school, maybe something about how I get great grades and how you can, too? I publish new posts on Mondays and Thursdays, so don’t be afraid to come back for more!

 

Thanks for reading!