Great Classes to Take for EVERY Major

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Looking to fill your elective slots? Or your general requirements? Here are some great and extremely useful courses to take, regardless of your degree, major, minor or concentration:

Intro to Computer Science

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As a journalism major, I was concerned about having to take this class, but it’s actually a really useful skill to have even at an introductory level. Knowing basic coding can help you in any field that might involve you using the internet (which in today’s world, is probably most).

American Government

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Assuming you are living in the US, knowing the basics about how your government works and (theoretically) functions is important for cultural literacy.

Religious Studies

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Specifically something you don’t believe in. Challenge yourself to understand another culture, religion or belief system. Seeing how others view the world can help you define more clearly how you see the world.

Foreign Language

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This can be really useful on a resume and in future jobs. Also helpful if you want to study abroad.

English Literature

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Read some books that you would have never picked up in a million years. Form some opinions about great authors. Make sure you can write a decent essay and argue your thesis coherently. These skills are important and having read some classic or just really good books will help you in life.

Astronomy

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With just a little math, learn about where we are in the universe and all the other incredible things we share space in the universe with. (Ok, as an astronomy minor, I might be slightly biased on this one.. but it’s still a great option!)

How to Make Free Time Productive

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time for me concept clock closeup

Most of the time when we have free time to ourselves, we tend to use it to binge watch TV shows on Netflix or spend too much time aimlessly surfing the internet. So here are some productive ways to spend your leisure time.

1. Read a Book

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Usually reading is associated with school, but leisure reading is something that can be fun. Find a genre or author that you like and immerse yourself into that world. Make reading something you WANT to do. Need some suggestions to get you started? Create a free account at www.goodreads.com!

2. Exercise

Jogging

Not only is exercise necessary for a healthy life, but it also helps you relieve stress and can help you sleep better at night. If traditional exercise does not appeal to you, try a physical activity that interests you. Ask friends to exercise with you and make it fun. Need an app to get you motivated? Download MyFitnessPal for free!

3. Volunteer in your Community

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It is always a good feeling to give back to one’s community. It does not have to be a huge volunteer project, but anything that makes even a small difference matters.  Something small from picking up trash at your local beach to a bigger project like feeding the homeless really does make a difference. Find volunteer opportunities in your area at www.voluntermatch.org.

4. Make a List

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If you have more than one thing to do during your free time, make a list planning out the details.  Be specific about the importance level for each task, along with details about where and when it will be completed. You will feel more productive about your day when you see everything check off the list.

Tips to Stay Organized & Give You a Fresh Start!

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Another semester has started and you want to get a fresh start! Staying organized is the best way to ensure this happens. Here are some great tips to help you out!

1. Date Your Notes. Make sure to write the date at the beginning of each lecture to keep your notes organized. It also makes it a lot easier to find when notes are missing.

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2. Color Code Your Subjects. Color in your schedule and make sure your notebooks match, that way, it’s easy to grab the right notebooks for each class!

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3. Organize Your Computer. Instead of just adding papers and lecture notes to “Documents” create a college folder, with subjects or sub-folders for each semester to keep your hard-drive neat.

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4. Note Q&A’s in Lecture. When a teacher poses a question to the class, write your notes in the form of a question and answer (and highlight the question). It could be the same question appears later on in the semester…

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5. Keep Your Quarters in a Cup. Easy access for when you need to do laundry or need a midnight caffeine booster.

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6. Use a Pencil Pouch. This will keep all your writing utensils in one place, keep you from losing them and save you money on continuing to buy more pens and pencils!

6-2 Pencil Pouch
7. Clear Out Your Pack. Each time you get back to your dorm room, empty your backpack to keep important things like notes and study guides from getting lost in the mess.

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8. Keep Your Toiletries Together. That way you won’t lose anything and won’t pay for anything you already have.

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 9, Create an Inbox Folder. For discussions with professors, so that you don’t lose track of information or for easy reference back to it.

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10. KEEP YOUR ROOM CLEAN. Being organized isn’t helpful if you can’t ever find any of your things to begin with.

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I hope this tips help you get the fresh start you need! Have a great semester!

Your Professor’s Road Map To Success: The Syllabus

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Your TA or Professor will likely hand you a pretty long document on the first day of class, or maybe she’ll email it to you ahead of time. This document is your semester success checklist, and its called “The Syllabus.” Many students skip “syllabus week” (the first week of classes) or figure that they don’t really need to pay attention to the review of the syllabus. But, your teacher is handing you their road map to success this semester. The information you should pay close attention to?

              The Professor’s Contact Information.

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Office hours, a phone number, an email address- the professor is BEGGING you to ask them for help!

Guidelines For The Course.

 1-30 checklist

What the teacher is expecting from you is written out in (hopefully) plain and simple English. This usually also covers what to do if you get sick and miss and exam or how to handle missing class for a holiday, so keep this safe for future reference.

Exam Dates. 

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Helpful information, to be put on a calendar ASAP! This will ensure you don’t forget until the professor reminds you the class before.

Weekly Readings and Assignments.

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On some syllabi, this section is good to help you keep on track with what you need to be on top of. Think of it as the professor’s planner for you.

It’s really important to read the syllabus at the beginning of the school year so that you know how to conduct yourself for each course during the semester. It’s also important for you to KEEP the syllabus for each course, in readable condition (i.e. not at the bottom of your backpack) throughout the semester. Good luck with starting spring semester!

5 Quick & Tasty Meatless Meals

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Whether you’re a vegetarian, participating in Meatless Mondays, or are just short on time and want a delicious meal you can make at home, these ideas are perfect for you!

1. Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Grilled Cheese

1-22 Grilled Cheese

For this one, all you have to do is slice up some fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, grab 2 slices of your favorite bread, and get a hold of some pesto or pesto-mayo. Then you put the sandwich together to your liking and throw it a pan with some melted butter or margarine and make it like you would a normal grilled cheese and you’re good to go!

2. Greek Yogurt Bowl

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With this meal you have a lot of room for variety and creativity. Whether for breakfast or lunch, this is a healthy and filling meatless option. Pick up your favorite flavor of Greek yogurt (such as French Vanilla or Original Plain) and measure ourabout a cup into a bowl. Then top with your favorite fresh fruit, granola, and a superfood of your choice (chia seeds, goji berries, and bee pollen are all great options!) The best part about this, apart from it being delicious, is that you can customize it to fit whatever you’re in the mood for!

3. Egg, Avocado, and Chia Seed Toast

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This one is really simple. Scramble up some eggs. Pop a slice of bread into the toaster. Smash up some avocado on top of your toast and sprinkle some chia seeds on top. Then add your eggs on top and you have a delicious, protein-packed meatless meal!

4. Rigatoni Pesto Primavera

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All you need for this is a package of rigatoni (or penne if you prefer), a jar of pesto, some frozen broccoli, an onion, and a bell pepper. Once you gather all your ingredients, cook your pasta to your liking. While your pasta is cooking, sauté your vegetables in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil. When your pasta is done and strained, toss it with the pesto and your sautéed vegetables. You can add some grated cheese if you’d like or leave it as is for a vegan/dairy-free option!

5. Nutella Strawberry Chocolate French Toast

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Most people might consider this a breakfast or brunch dish, but if like me, you’re a fan of breakfast food for any meal, then you can treat yourself to this one at any time of the day! You can use any bread you like (Texas Toast is my favorite for this, but you can use whole grain for a healthier version.) All you need to do to make your egg-wash is whisk up an egg and then stir in some chocolate milk; this is where the “Chocolate” in Chocolate French Toast comes in! Once you do that, cover your bread with your chocolate egg-wash and cook it up in your pan with some non-stick spray. Once you’ve cooked your French Toast to your liking, spread some Nutella on top and then add some strawberry slices for the most delicious French Toast you’ve ever had!

Tips For Planning An Affordable Spring Break

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If you’re planning a spring break trip with your friends, now is the time to crack down on your planning.  Finding an affordable trip is easier than you might think.  Here are a few tips to help you get started!

1. Do your research.

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Look into every deal you can find for the places you’re thinking about going.  Check Groupon, Airbnb, Expedia, Priceline, etc.  Make sure you find the best deal for the kind of trip you want.  Really explore your options so you can find the trip that’s right for you.

2. Set a budget and stick to it.

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Make sure you know how much you have to spend and plan accordingly.  Include any potential spending money you’ll need while you’re there.  If you’re not going to an all-inclusive resort, factor in your food and beverage expenses.  If you’re doing any non-free activities, make sure you’re prepared for the costs.

3. Read the fine print.

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Some hotels and getaway deals have extra and hidden fees.  Read everything before you book your stay/trip to make sure there are no surprises.  Be certain of the costs before you agree to anything.

4. Be open-minded.

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Don’t be too set on a specific place.  Just know the type of vacation you want to have (i.e. warm weather, beach resort, city, ski/snowboard trip, etc.)  Depending on the popularity of the place, the dates you’re going, and the amount of people you’re travelling with, some places/hotels will be more expensive.  Being open to different places can help you find a more affordable trip.

5. Split costs where you can.

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Find rooms that sleep more people.  Split the cost of the rental car or gas if one of you has your own car that you can take.  Go in as a group on snacks and/or groceries.  Anything that can be a shared cost, share it.

Road Trip Recipe

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If you have a long enough break, taking a road trip for a few days or even a week can be a great way to spend your time, see friends and experience new and different places! Here’s a few key ingredients to make a successful road trip:
Road Trip Blog Post
1. A Car- kind of a must have! Recruit a group of 4 – 5 friends and see if someone has a car. Make sure everyone is willing to chip in for gas. If none of your friends have a car, check out Zipcar and have everyone pitch in for that. If all else fails, bus it!
2. Friends- 3-5 is an ideal number for car fitting and driving rotations. Friends make every trip more fun and exciting!
3. 1 Pillow per Person- Necessary for the mid-drive nap and for the mid-drive fight! Also makes any car more comfortable.
4. Small Front Seat “Carry-On”- For phones, chargers, cameras and snacks. Maybe a book. Not larger than a small drawstring bag for most space and comfort of travel.
5. Sweatshirts- For differences in driver/passengers temperature preferences and for the quick run to the bathroom at the rest stop!
6. A Plan- Don’t just start to drive, know approximately where you are going to and about when you’ll get there (days-wise) in case of emergency, and so that you can research cool things to do once you get to where you are going!
Have fun and be safe!

5 Tricks To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions!

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2015 is here and its time to make New Year’s resolutions and check if you’ve stuck to yours. Here are some tips for keeping your resolution for ringing in 2015.

2015
1. Be Specific- You are more likely to stick to your plan if it is more distinct and less
general. For example, instead of saying that you want to exercise more, say that you
will go for an hour run three times a week.

2. Series of Steps- Establish exactly what you will do to reach that eventual goal. Think
about smaller steps that lead to success.

3. Be Realistic- Set a goal that is attainable for you personally and remember- what
may be plausible for someone else might not be for your lifestyle.

4. Believe in Yourself- Have a positive mind set even though it might get difficult during
the process of reaching your goal. You are more likely to accomplish a goal if you have
confidence in yourself.

5. Don’t Give Up- If you slip up and mess up on your goal, do not completely give up on
it. Keep trying and even if you do not accomplish it by your deadline, it will still be
worth it in the end.

Happy New Year!

Tips to Keep Warm During Winter Walks to Class

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Now that we’re in the middle of winter, walking to class can be pretty dreadful. If you go to school in a colder area, you’ll find that frigid temperatures doesn’t equal cancelled classes. Here are some tips on how to stay warm as you brave the winter weather to get to class.

1. Get a pair of thermal underwear.

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Wear thermal leggings or long johns under your jeans, sweatpants, etc. It will make a world of difference when you’re walking to class in frigid temperatures.

2. Pick up some wool socks.
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Invest in some good quality wool socks. Keeping your feet warm is extremely important during the colder months and a good pair of socks helps to ensure a warmer, more comfortable journey.

3. Wear snow boots.
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If you go to school somewhere where snow is likely in the winter, snow boots are essential. They’ll keep your feet warm and dry as you trek through campus. Snow boots are also great for extremely cold temperatures when it’s not snowing!

4. Don’t forget your hat, scarf, or gloves!
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Winter accessories are important and a good coat can only cover so much. Don’t forget to keeps your hands, neck, and head bundled up as well. It’s cold and flu season and the cold weather will only worsen your symptoms if you’re not careful!

5. Invest in a good coat.
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It might be worth it to spend a bit more money to ensure you’re getting a good quality, warm coat. Getting a good coat also means longevity, so you’ll get many years out of it, which is worth the investment!

The Best Peppermint Sugar Cookie Recipe

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Now that you’re home for winter break, it’s time to start treating yourself to some festive sweets!  These  peppermint sugar blossom cookies are delicious and super-easy to make.

Peppermint Sugar Cookies

Here’s what you’ll need:

-1 package Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses

-2 cups all-purpose flour

-1 cup granulated sugar

-1/4 teaspoon baking soda

-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened

-1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

-1 large egg

-2 tablespoons milk

-1/2 cup crushed candy cane pieces

(Makes about 48 cookies.)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

 

  1. Mix butter, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in a bowl until well blended.

 

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and crushed candy canes in a separate bowl and stir.

 

  1. Gradually add the dry ingredients (from step 3) and milk to the butter mixture (alternating between dry ingredients and milk) and stir together with a wooden spoon until you get an even, doughy consistency.

 

  1. Shape your dough into 1-inch balls and place them onto ungreased cookie sheets.

 

  1. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges. Now is a good time to unwrap your Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses.

 

  1. Take your cookie sheets out of the oven and press one Kiss into each cookie. Put your cookies back into the oven for 2 minutes.

 

  1. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool completely.

 

Now you have a fresh batch of cookies to serve at your holiday party or you can put them in small festive bags and give them as gifts!  (Or just enjoy them for yourself!)

 

*If you’re not the best at baking, or you’re short on time, you can also buy prepackaged peppermint sugar cookie dough (Pillsbury makes a great one) at your local supermarket and just add the Candy Cane Kisses!