College Life

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.

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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!

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:
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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!

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!

Handling a Forgotten Assignment

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assignmentIt’s that point in the semester, when there’s too much to do and too little time. Also that time when some assignments just kind of slip through the cracks. Here are some guidelines to handling a forgotten assignment:

 Step 1: Apologize, without excuses. Saying, “I’m really sorry, but I had a ton of other work for this other class,” makes it just sound like this class isn’t that important to you. While you may feel this way, it’s not a great way to get any sympathy from the professor or TA. Instead say, “I’m sorry, this totally slipped my mind, but I take full responsibility for the lateness of this assignment.”

 Step 2: Get the assignment done and in as soon as possible. Show the professor that you really do care about this assignment, even if you know you won’t get full or any points on it. It shows that you care more about the information than the grade and tells the professor that you are really dedicated to understanding the material.

 Step 3: Don’t expect full credit, but do try for extra credit. In handing in your assignment late, you don’t deserve full credit. Likely, the professor explained the policy for late work in the syllabus. Consult it and then discuss with your professor how to make up the lost points through any sort of extra credit.

 Step 4: Remember this feeling. It will keep you writing up to do lists or updating your assignment notebook!

The Off the Beaten Path Holiday Buying List for the College Gentleman

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In honor of the upcoming holiday, I thought I would break my normal stream of consciousness to bring all of the girlfriends, mothers, aunties and sisters out there a little yule tide help in searching for a special something for their favorite male undergrad (or heck… grad student as well!).

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 Dave Brubeck Quartet- Jazz Goes To College

While the current generation may be stuck on Young Thug and Iggy, jazz was the controversial genre of your parent’s day; so much so that in 1954, universities across the country initially refused to let Dave and his quartet perform on their campuses. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and Brubeck embarked on a four month tour, playing at 90 universities and junior colleges across the country. While Wolverines should enjoy this pressing (five of the seven songs are from the University of Michigan show) this album is certainly an intro course for students looking for a little something more than what the radio is offering.

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Tweed Football from The Lodge Goods

Dorm football: a male, freshman sport played by bored first years in the dormitory hallway. Usually proceeded by the phrase “What’s the worst that could happen?”. Often followed by an impromptu trip to the emergency room and write ups of all participants. While wrapping a football in Harris Tweed won’t necessarily make taking a spiral to the face feel any better, at least it looks cool.

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 The Hunt Duffle Back from Hershel Co

Because you promised yourself you’d hit the campus gym on a regular basis in the new year. Because you promised your parents you would visit more next semester. Because mentally, you’re already on spring break. And because carrying your clothes in a backpack or a black trash bag isn’t sexy.

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 Hunter Original iPhone case

Recently, my overpriced Lifeproof Case proved that despite its name, it actually was susceptible to life. So the wife and I took a trip to the Apple Store in search of a new case to protect my fragile iPhone 5S. Our sells associate laid out a few options similar to my previous case, but my eyes couldn’t see past this hunter green case by Hunter Original (yes, the same Hunter Original that makes your rain boots). As I held what would be my new case, my wife remarked “Chose your case wisely. Its not always about fashion” to which I would respond “Dear wife. It is ALWAYS about fashion.”

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Duckboots by LL Bean or Sperry if you want them by the 25th

Marketed as the “original antidote to wet feet”, this boot is a multi-faceted piece of any man’s wardrobe. Whether marching through January snow on your way to your 9:00 class or sloshing through April rain puddles on your way to finals, these classic boots will keep those feet warm and dry from hustling on campus to hunting in the marsh. The only problem is that the LL Bean version of these boots are SO popular, they are currently on back order to about March. Sprerry however, makes a version that is just as tactical, fashionable and more available.

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 Gentlemen Only Intense by Givenchy

A man’s scent is like his calling card. I’ll never forget my first bottle of cologne; a bottle of Curve purchased with my meager McDonald’s paycheck in high school. As you mature, so does your palette. Soon you’ll have your clean, fresh and sometimes fruity scents for the spring and summer while you look to musky, woodsy scents for the fall and winter. Gentlemen Only Intense is the older brother of the original Gentlemen Only that will deliver masculine elegance right from your neck to your girlfriend’s nose.

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Archer Season 5

If you’re not watching Archer by now, all I can say is that you are missing some of the best television around. The Simpsons and Family Guy may have lost their bite a long time ago, but this spy comedy keeps its teeth sharp. Season 6 premieres in January so what better way to spend your holiday break by binge watching the world’s most inept spy agency become the world’s most inept drug cartel.

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Colligate needlepoint belt from Smathers and Branson

We are about nine months away from the next college football season which of course means, we’re about the length of a full term pregnancy from the next tailgate. In a sea of hoodies and fitted baseball caps, a needlepoint belt featuring your school’s logo is a discrete yet unique way to show your pride. Pair it with a tucked in Oxford and a gameday hat, and your ready for all of the barbecuing, co-ed flirting and carrying on the tailgate has to offer. Smather’s and Branson offers all conference belts for the ACC and SEC as well as a good listing of individual schools as well.

The Importance of Study Breaks!

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Once Thanksgiving comes and goes, the semester is practically over. And while that  signals the light at the end of the tunnel, a.k.a. Winter Break, it also means you’re hurtling straight into a vat of finals. Final papers, final projects and final exams are all around the corner, meaning you are probably spending more than your fair share of time with your nose stuck in a textbook or computer. To make sure you don’t go crazy, make sure to take a 10-15 minute study break every 2-3 hours you spend studying. You don’t have to do anything specific, just get up, take a walk around, watch a YouTube video, get a coffee, jump rope, call your parents to let them know you’re alive, etc. Giving yourself a few minutes to take a breath and recollect your thoughts can keep you from burning out. So study hard and don’t forget to take breaks!

Warning Signs of An Eating Disorder: What to Look For and How to Help

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Taking care to stay fit and healthy is always a good idea. But when the concern of weight gain becomes and obsession, one can develop an eating disorder. Below are a few of the more common eating disorders and their symptoms.

Anorexia nervosa
Anorexia is probably the most well known eating disorder, which is characterized by an obsession with being thin which results in starving yourself.

Symptoms may include:
– refusal to eat
– irritability
– excessive exercise
– abdominal pain
– dry skin
– dehydration
– thin appearance

Binge eating disorder
Quite the opposite of anorexia, binge eating disorders tend to be characterized by extreme over-eating without compensation of over-exercising or vomiting.

Symptoms may include:
– eating past the point of being uncomfortably or painfully full
– frequently eating alone
– feeling that you have no control over your eating habits

Bulimia nervosa
Similar to a binge-eating disorder, bulimia is characterized by binge eating followed by purging through vomiting, laxative use, or over-exercising.

Symptoms may include:
– eating past the point of being uncomfortably or painfully full
– self-induced vomiting
– feeling that you have no control over your eating habits
– damaged teeth
– dehydration
– excessive exercise

How to Help:
If you or a loved one has developed an eating disorder, it can be difficult to accept treatment. Insist on treatment anyway knowing that it is what’s best. Your physician can refer you to a mental health specialist.

Fall Fashion For Fellas – The Knit Tie

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knittieThough it had only been a total of five months, the length from July to November seemed like an eternity. All of the calorie counting, the five mile jogs, the back breaking bootcamp classes; all instrumental in your loss of 40 pounds. Not only did you shed the weight of a 15 foot canoe, you also lost one full inch on your neckline meaning you could finally accomplish the singular fashion goal you’ve pursued for the past year; you could wear a bowtie.

When your neckline was 18 and a half inches, your neck itself was a tad too big for the prep staple and the bow you created by following the How To Tie a Tie app on your iPhone was too small. Now however, you had more than enough slack to obtain the look you were going for. Your giddiness would soon evaporate though, when you attended your chapter’s formal meeting and realized that about 90% of the room had adopted the bowtie as their primary neck wear. You see, bowties used to be a novelty; something that drew eyes when you walked into the room. With preppiness now in vogue however, the bow is as common as the boat shoe.

Continuing the search for your neck’s individuality, you uncovered something interesting on The Tie Bar. Silk, yet not smooth and sleek but knitted and full of character. Not sharp and pointed at the end but squared and unique. Although Jake, the chapter historian may not “get” it, James Dean, Sean Connery and The Beatles sure did as all of these esteemed gentlemen have donned the knit tie. And while the knit tie isn’t something commonly seen in the 2014 quad, knits have their collegiate roots as they were all the craze on Ivy League campuses in the 1960’s; so much so that student athletes at Harvard had unique knit ties to distinguish which team they belonged to.

Think of it as a more fashionable lettermen’s jacket. The knit tie is a utility player on your fashion team. Just as it’s a conversational addition to a causal oxford, cardigan and jean combination, it is also at home with a black suit (Example: Bond. James Bond). The fratty masses may keep the bow tie; the knit is just vintage enough, just Ivy enough, just different enough to work.

Essentials for a Relaxing, Pamper Night!

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With the end of the semester getting closer and closer, you may be a bit stressed. If that’s the case, it’s time to ‘treat yo’ self’ to the relaxing night you deserve. Do it solo or have a group pamper night with friends! Here’s what you’ll need!

  1. Candles

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There’s something about candlelight that is so magical and relaxing. Pick up some candles in scents that you love and put them around your room. You don’t have to light them all at once, so pick one or two scents that compliment each other and put them wherever you like. If you’re in a dorm that doesn’t allow candles, you can get a flameless wax burner for a similar effect.

  1. A Face Mask

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There are so many different face masks out there to choose from, so find one that you think will be good for your skin and smells nice. They have masks for dry skin, breakouts, oily skin, blackheads, stress relief, redness, etc. You name and it probably exists. You’ll feel like you’re getting a facial at a fancy spa, without the hefty price tag!

  1. Scented Lotion

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There’s nothing better than soft skin that smells amazing. There are scented lotions that smell like just about anything you could possibly think of, so find some that you love. A great place to start searching is Bath and Body Works. Their selection is huge and you’re bound to find something you love. If scented lotions aren’t you’re thing or you’re allergic, there are some great, unscented lotions out there so don’t feel like you have to be left out on this one. Find a hypoallergenic, sensitive skin friendly lotion that is really moisturizing and you’ll be goo to go.

  1. Hot Chocolate or Tea

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A hot, delicious beverage is a great addition to your pamper night. You can make your own hot chocolate or tea or pick some up at your favorite café. If you like specialty flavors, like peppermint hot chocolate or chai tea lattes, there are mixes you can buy to make at home—part of the fun is in making it yourself and there’s something ultra relaxing about making your own hot beverage!

  1. Relaxing Music

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Just put on a playlist of your favorite mellow music and you’ll instantly feel relaxed! You can also find some great playlists on Pandora and Spotify if you want some help finding the perfect soundtrack for your pamper night.

  1. A Good Book or Magazines

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Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to get to or revisit your favorite book! If you’re a pop culture junkie pick up some new issues of your favorite magazines and get your celebrity gossip fix!

  1. A Cozy Blanket

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This one is pretty self-explanatory: wrap yourself in your favorite cozy blanket while you drink your hot drink and read your book!

  1. Comfortable PJs

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Comfortable pajamas are an essential here, because pamper nights are all about comfort. Ditch the jeans and let yourself truly relax!