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Ron Blum

The Organized Student Goes to College

January 5th, 2012

As the first college semester ends for many students, it is a great time to touch base with them and assess the successes as well as the challenges they have experienced over the past several months.Although many students have experienced a very successful first semester away at college, some may have found this time a bit more challenging.  As parents, our goal is to produce successful students and in the end successful graduates.  Keeping the lines of communication open and listening to them about the challenges they have encountered along the way is critical in determining their needs for the upcoming semester.As a follow up to my first installment on how to prepare your student for college; this article outlines the points necessary for review and discussion after the completion of their first semester away.  Having an open and honest conversation about grades, living arrangements and general attitude will help you to determine if your student is on the right path for a successful year.  Below is a list of suggested topics to review and discuss.                                                                                                  1.       How did your student adapt to life away from home?  A casual talk with them can offer much insight.  Were they home sick? Did they make new friends? Did they take the opportunity to get involved with college clubs and activities?  Many students find these things easy to do while others feel out of their “element” trying to become involved in new activities.  Our goal as parents is to help them understand that college has something for everyone, and they must sometimes step out of their comfort zone to find activities they might enjoy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                2.      How were their grades for the first semester?  Were they successful or do we all of a sudden notice our “A” student earning “C” grades.  This is not necessarily a concern since grades can waiver slightly due to a normal college adjustment period.  Students need to understand that professors don’t intentionally try to fail anyone.  If they are lost in a course they need to speak to the professor to seek out additional help.  Many colleges offer free tutoring in all courses to assist with this process.  Many of my “A” students take advantage of the Learning Center at school in order to maintain their 4.0 average.                                                                                                            3.      Did the student attend their classes?  Many students think that they can skip classes and still be able to pass the course successfully.  We need to remind them that this is usually not the case and that they need to be an active participant in all of their courses in order to succeed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       4.       How are they dealing with their current living situation?  No matter what the living situation, whether it is in a dorm room or sharing an apartment off campus, issues arise with roommates and communal living that may be new for many students.  Open communication with you is the key to dealing with these issues.  Refer your student to their Resident Assistant or local Residential life coordinator for help.  These individuals are trained for specifically this purpose and will work with them to make adjustments and fixes.   Sometimes issues arise that are larger and more serious than what can be handled by a Resident Assistant.  Schools have counselors and therapist to help students through these tough situations.  This is great information for us as parents to remember since sometimes personal issues arise at home that students have to deal with while away at school.                                                                                                   5.      Encourage an open and honest discussion about social life.  Many students experience their first taste of freedom while away at college for the first time.  Many act on it and most don’t look at the big picture and how it will impact their performance in school.  As parents it is important to understand and support their freedom, but to also reinforce the importance of maintaining their grades.                                                                                                              In closing, it is essential for parents to keep the lines of communication open with their student and revisit the organizational skills that were worked on at the beginning of the school year. Reviewing the importance of completing assigned work, attending class and looking for extracurricular activities as a way to meet new people are just some of the areas for discussion.  Most importantly, listen openly to their challenges and help them tap into the appropriate resources to resolve these challenges and move forward and remain successful during this very important first year away at college.

After Holiday TIP

December 30th, 2011

As simple tip to keep from being overwhelmed after the holidays.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Do small tasks each day to clean and put away decorations.  In no time you will be ready for the new year. 


December 23rd, 2011

Feel free to follow along with my Facebook Page at

Count down to the holiday.

December 23rd, 2011

·         As we count down to December 25th, keep a list on your refrigerator and beside table to write down last minute thoughts and shopping items. This system will save a lot of repeat trips to the store for things that we forgot.

Back to School

August 27th, 2010

Haven’t blogged in a while so I thought I would give a quick tip about back to school.  Anyone who is anyone is getting ready for back to school.  Whether it be grade school or college, use this simple tip.  Break up your tasks into different days and don’t try to accomplish everything at once.  There is still plenty of time and you will be less stresed.

Don’t forget to visit my page on Facebook @ The Organizational Guru

 Stay organized.


January is Get Organized Month

January 9th, 2010

Dear Friends,

I hope everyone has started the New Year off as a happy and healthy one.  January is get organized month.  Whether you decide to finally organize those holiday decorations as you put them away or decide to clean out a closet as you are putting away your gifts, this is the month to make it happen. 

With the onset of the very cold weather many of us are stuck inside. There is no time like the present to tackle an inside job.  Organizing a closet, cleaning the basement or getting your papers ready for taxes, will leave you feeling satisfied that you have accomplished a needed task. 

Remember, pick a task and complete it.  Break larger tasks down into days or several weekends.  By accomplishing small steps at a time you will realize that this task actually gets accomplished and you won’t feel overwhelmed. 

Take action today and get organized in January. 


Ron Blum

The Organizational Guru

Planning Ahead

January 2nd, 2009

December 31, 2008


As many of my clients now know I have suffered several setbacks over the fall months.  Suddenly losing a family member and being diagnosed with cancer in the same week takes a toll on oneself and family.  These events have gotten me thinking on how we prepare for major events in our life.  Do we have a plan in place, a will, long term care insurance or even enough savings to get us through a long term illness? 

Many of us go day to day without thinking of these things.  We think “it can’t happen to us”.  But as the commercial says “life comes at you fast”.   Many don’t “plan to fail” they “fail to plan”.  The only thing that I can brag about is that I have always believed in a lot of life insurance, and purchased it when I was younger.   It is something I highly recommend along with disability and long term care insurance.

What I want to review with everyone who is reading my blog are these simple things that you can do to plan ahead for life’s surprises:

1.       If you don’t already have one get a will.  Single, married, divorced, etc, take the time to have your will written or updated to save your family time and frustration.

2.       Make sure you have adequate life insurance to cover the costs of your funeral expenses, mortgage, college expenses, etc.

3.       Buy long term care insurance.  Many of us over look this, but this insurance with cover the cost for rehab hospitals or nursing homes when you need it. 

4.       Participate in a disability insurance program (Aflac).

5.       Make sure your spouse or partner knows pertinent information in case you suddenly become sick or hospitalized.  Does he/she know where the safe deposit box is, what bills need to be paid, where the will is, etc.

6.       Do you or your parents have their funeral planned or even paid for? Most funeral directors will sit with you and plan out your exact wishes so that when the time comes family doesn’t need to deal with those matters.  A few years ago I purchased funeral plots in my town before the price was due to go up.  I guess you can say it was an impulse buy.  My family still doesn’t let me live it down considering I was only in my 30’s

7.       Talk to your family about your wishes.  Even take the time to write them down and put them with your important papers and give a copy to your family.

With these simple steps taken many of us will have alleviated the stressful times that occur during these unplanned circumstances.   

Life on the simple side.

August 27th, 2008

Tonight I discovered a new show on TV called the Dan Ho Show.  This gentleman came to America in order to achieve the American Dream.  He succeeded having the big house, money, a restaurant; not to mention the stress, extra weight and an unhealthy lifestyle.  A seizure caused him to have a wake up call.  Now at 120lbs lighter and much healthier his goal is to help people live the more simpler, but happier life. 

 Somewhat like me, my goal is to streamline individual’s home and business surroundings to eliminates stress and save time and money.  One thing that each one of us can take away from this is that we don’t need tons of gadgets and toys to make us happy. Many times these turn into clutter and can actually make our surroundings more stressful.  Save the money you were going to spend on the widget and take the well deserved mental health vacation we all so deserve. 

Back to School.

August 7th, 2008

As most parents battle the end of summer vacation, along with the thought of back to school shopping I offer this advice.  Formulate a plan before going to the mall and spending endless hours.  Last week I took one hour and emptied all existing school supplies onto the kitchen table.  I quickly took an inventory and then let both children take what was needed and loaded their backpacks.  After that I was easily able to make a list of needed supplies for each person.  I recommend that you do the same for clothing, shoes, etc.  If you take some time to plan you will have a much better idea of what is needed and you won’t spend valuable time and money on unnecessary things. 

Good luck and have an organized day. 

Live for Today

August 7th, 2008

I just got done reading Loretta Laroche’s Blog.  She is a speaker who I often reference in my lectures.  If you ever have time to enjoy one of her lectures on humor I suggest you do so.  Something she so simply put on her blog I thought wrapped up my thought for the day.

Image“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.”