College Life

How to survive college 101. Advice from college students for college students.

Five Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

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Dining out at nice restaurants and attending musical events are always good ideas for dates when looking to impress someone that you like. However, doing this on the regular can also put a very heavy strain on one’s wallet. Going on fancy dates can show that you care about someone and that you want to make them happy with romantic gestures, however the total can quickly add up. This is especially true for college students who often do not have the luxury of extra spending money to be thrown in wads at three-star restaurants. Just because you do not have the cash to go out to a fancy dinner every week doesn’t mean that you still can’t impress your date. While it is fun to go out to upscale restaurants frequently, sometimes the budget just doesn’t allow for it.

If you need ideas for dating on a budget, look no further as I will be providing you with some options that will let you have fun without breaking the budget.

Go For a Walk or Take a Hike

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Although it may seem simple, just walking around with someone can be a great way to get to know them better.  When choosing a spot to walk around, look for an area that is interesting or has aesthetic advantages. Find a place filled with culture! If you have the option, a big city is the perfect setting for a nice walk, as well as a pretty park or neighborhood. Nature walks and hikes are also a good option for those who live in close vicinity to a forest or other nature filled area. Walking is great for you as well, as being outdoors can significantly improve your health and even lower stress. Reduced stress level can make it easier to relax and enjoy the date. Now that’s killing two birds with one stone!

Get Dessert

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You may have heard people say that diamonds are the way to a girl’s heart. I would disagree, dessert is! Ice cream and frozen yogurt are always good choices, but you can’t go wrong with cake or pastries too. When seeking out dessert places, try looking for local patisseries and hidden gems. There is nothing wrong with going the classic Ben & Jerry’s route, but sometimes it can be fun to try somewhere new. It’s also commonly known that dessert improves your mood, so you are more likely to enjoy being with another person because you equate spending time with them with happier feelings. Carbohydrate-rich foods like desserts cause your brain to produce serotonin and tryptophan — chemicals that can promote your emotional well-being and thus make you a happier person

Have a Picnic

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Having a picnic in a park or pretty area is a great idea for a date. It is a setting that encourages conversation and creates an atmosphere of relaxation for both parties. As far as food for a picnic, you can’t go wrong with a classic sandwich and chips combination. Bringing a bottle of wine with glasses adds a little romance to the outing and can make it feel more like a date than just lunch (if you are 21+ of course). Once again, you can’t go wrong with dessert as bringing something chocolaty or rich will end the picnic in just the right way! A picnic is a great option as it can work at nearly any time of the day. You can have a lunchtime picnic and revel in the sunlight, or set up for a dinner picnic and enjoy the sunset and the night stars.

Attend a Sports Game

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Although tickets to certain games can be extremely pricey, there are often ways to get cheap tickets to a variety of different sporting events. Try taking advantage of student ticket deals as many colleges have deals worked out that will allow you to get into events and games for greatly reduced prices. Sports games are a great way to get to know someone that you may not be completely comfortable with, as you have the chance to sit and talk, with a decreased threat of awkward silence and a conversation topic (the event) already lined up for addressing. Sports events also offer a great opportunity for group dates which may benefit some individuals looking to strengthen relationships, but not quite sure how to do so. Some individuals may be nervous or uncomfortable on initial date and adding another couple or friends to the date may help to ease nervousness.

Visit a Museum

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Although some museums can be quite expensive and really put a dent in your wallet, colleges also do their best to make art available to students by offering student deals that make museums either much cheaper or free! Some museums will offer free admission to students within the local area, while others will host student nights. Visiting a museum is a great way to get to know someone as you can learn what they value and how they think by finding out their opinions and views on art. Although museums can make great date spots, it is also important not to get too caught up in the actual art and to allow yourself to talk to your date and get to know them rather than just the art you came to see. Remember, you are there for the date; not just the art.

There are many other options when dating on a budget that can be both romantic and fun. One great tip is to try something new together as this can bring added excitement to the table. Take advantage of student deals on events and museums as these can prove to be strong dates that don’t break the bank. The most important thing when planning a date is to choose something that you can both enjoy. Although some ideas may seem like great date ideas to you, people have different tastes and your date may not be enthralled by the idea of going to a baseball game or walking around a neighborhood. When planning, be creative and thoughtful and you can easily find a great idea for a date that will not empty your pockets.

What’s your favorite budget-friendly date idea? Comment below!

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When You Should Call and When You Should Text

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Likely, the vast majority of the people you know have a cellphone. And (with the exception of that great-aunt or grandfather who doesn’t know how) most people use them pretty competently. Even with the few holdouts with ‘dumb phones‘, their phones can at least text. But, is that really the best method of communication? Here is my advice on when you should call and when you should text.

When you should really CALL someone:

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-You are making plans
-You are having a bad day and need meaningful conversation or advice
-You want to catch up with an out of town friend

When you should really just TEXT someone:

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-You are confirming the plans you made in person or on the phone
-When speaking on the phone would be rude or would interrupt a situation on either end
-When the person you are contacting really just needs some good emojis in there life to make them smile

To sum it up, when you take the time to actually call someone it gives them more of a connection to you. You are saying, yes I have time for you and I will not just get around to talking to you. While texting is a VERY useful means of communication at certain times, you are likely to get a lot more out of a phone conversation.

Hopefully this advice helps you decide when you should call and when you should text. Leave your thoughts on the subject below!

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Steps to Take When Emailing Your Professor

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Having trouble wording an email to a professor? Need help, but don’t know how to ask? Check out this guide to emailing your professor!

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Step 1: WHAT?

Let your professor know as much as you can in the subject of the email you are sending them. Do not write out your whole question, but: “EDMS451 Section 2 Homework 8 Questions” lets your professor know which class you are in and gives them a general idea of what they should expect out of the email.

Step 2: Dear WHO?

Make sure that you address your professor professionally and most importantly, correctly. If you don’t know what they want to be called, err on the side of formality- It’s more polite to accidentally call your teacher, “Professor Johnson” when she wants to be called Susie rather than call her “Susie” when she wants to be called Professor Johnson.

Step 3: WHY?

Tell your professor why you are emailing. Don not just start- Question 6 doesn’t make sense!!! Also, make sure to use appropriate punctuation. Pretend you are writing to a potential employer in terms of formality. You might want to start your email, “I was having trouble with a couple problems on this week’s homework and was wondering if you could help me out?” If you are asking for a favor, like an extension on a homework assignment or a grade reconsideration, make sure to take full responsibility and make it clear that you understand they are not obligated to make an exception for you.  Acting entitled does not get students anywhere with their professors.

Step 4: SIGN OFF.

If you do not have an automatic signature, include a thank you, your first and last name and an email you regularly CHECK. It might look something like:

Thanks,

Amanda Drazen

email@university

Step 5: PROOFREAD.

When emailing your professor, remember that is is important to make sure that your email has no grammatical or spelling errors.  You want them to take you seriously.

Step 6: SEND

After you send the email to your professor you should reasonably continue to check for a response and respond promptly to the response.

EXAMPLE email:  

Subject: JOUR199 Section 5 Holiday Absence

Dear Professor Smith,

I hope that you are doing well. I am writing you to let you know of a conflict I have with an upcoming exam date. Unfortunately, I will not be able to take the exam scheduled for July 4th as my family has planned a trip out of town during the holiday.  I was wondering if I could take the exam earlier, maybe the Sunday before?

Thank you,

Amanda Drazen

email@university

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Steps to Relieve Stress and Be Happy Before Finals

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We all have bad days. But, I have found that the bad and super stressed out days tend to come more and more frequently as the end of a college semester approaches. So, here are some steps to take to put a smile back on that face and be happy without avoiding studying!

Step 1: Happy Quote

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Write your favorite, inspirational happy quote and put it on the wall next to your bed to wake up to every morning. This will only take 5 minutes, but will help you get out on the right side of the bed. 

Step 2: Jamming to Music

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Listen to jam music when you get ready in the morning! Get excited for the day to come! 

Step 3: Favorite Outfits

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Wear your favorite outfits. Let me rephrase that: Wear your favorite *CLEAN* outfits. It will make you happy! 

Step 4: Treat Yourself

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If you got a good grade on a test, reward yourself! If you got a bad grade on a test, console yourself. Whether with a chocolate bar, a new magazine or a new t-shirt- treat yourself! 

Step 5: Sleep Well

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Make sure to be getting the right amount of sleep (I say hypocritically writing this at 1:30 AM with more work to do….). Well, I’ve heard this thing known to the outside-college-world as ‘sleep’ is really helpful and revitalizing!

And if all these fail and you’re still having a bad day: text your friend and tell her you need a hug. Always makes you feel better!  

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Don’t forget to SMILE!!!

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What to Take Home Over Spring Break

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Packing Your Bags for Spring Break = Less Finals Stress!

Want an easy way to make your finals week less stressful, before you even head home for spring break? Take home as MUCH as you can! Here is a short DO’s and DON’T’s list for spring break packing (if you’re headed home!)

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DO take you winter coat, scarves, hats and gloves. The bulkier the stuff you take home now, the less you have to deal with fitting it next to your comforter while studying for finals.

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DON’T take all of your sweatshirts home. There might be days when it still gets cold out, so just keeping your T-shirts and shorts handy isn’t helpful.

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DO take winter outfits and clothes you don’t wear so often. There’s no point in keeping it around if you aren’t going to wear it anyway.

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DON’T take your rain jacket. April showers bring May flowers.

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DO take home extra bags, notebooks, your third set of sheets- the extra stuff laying around that you never use and just takes up space.

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DON’T leave any textbooks or notes behind when you head back to campus!

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Following this list will not only lighten your packing load and stress at the end of the semester, but will also give your dorm room a (likely) much needed spring cleaning!

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How to Keep in Touch with Long Distance Friends

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While some people flee high school and go to a college as far away from home as possible, other people really want to stay connected with their high school friends (or summer camp friends, or gap year friends, etc.). For those of you who are afraid that you will lose old friends to new college friends, here are some tips to keep in touch!

Create a Facebook Group

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For the occasional reminisce or for organizing a possible weekend reunion, a Facebook group is the way to go!

Create a Whatsapp Group

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Essential if you have friends who are out of the country for any reason.  Whether they are studying abroad, backpacking across Europe or have randomly moved to Australia-this way you can all stay connected.

Send a Random Text 

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Whether you last talked to this friend two weeks ago or two years ago, sending a “Hi, how are you? can go a long way and will probably be much appreciated. It lets them know you are thinking about them.

Send Something Through Good Old Snail Mail

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Who doesn’t like getting mail? Send them a postcard or handwritten letter to let them know you still care and want to know what they are up to.

Social Media Stalking

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Okay…not really for keeping in touch but if you want to stay updated on someone’s life, back stalk their Facebook profile pictures, their Twitter feed, their Instagram and other social media platforms.

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7 Ways To Improve Your Dorm Bathroom Experience!

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Set the example. Keep your dorm bathroom clean. If you don’t, how can you expect others too?  Here are some tips to improve your dorm bathroom experience

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1. Girls, always clean your hair out of the shower drain. Guys, clean up the sink after you shave. It’s much less disgusting to clean up your own hair than to clean up someone else’s.

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2. Wear Shower Shoes. No, just because it’s the shower, doesn’t mean it gets cleaned. Cheap flip-flops are good for this kind of thing.

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3. Make sure everything goes down when you flush the toilet. If it doesn’t, flush again, or let someone (i.e. maintenance) know about it. How would you like it if the tables were turned?

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4. Restock the toilet paper when you finish it. Extra rolls are probably kept somewhere in the bathroom area. You’ll appreciate it when it’s done for you.

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5. Clean up globs of toothpaste in the sink. No one else wants to touch the gunk that’s been cleaning your mouth.

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6. Don’t leave personal belongings in the bathroom. It’s not your own private bathroom. Unless it is, then, by all means, leave your belongings wherever you want.

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7. If maintenance needs to be called, call them. Or tell your RA that they need to be called. If you don’t like walking into the bathroom being a mess, don’t leave it that way for others.

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If your hallway sticks to these clean, healthy bathroom habits, your dorm bathroom won’t be so gross and scary! Putting up friendly signs to remind others to keep the bathroom clean can also be helpful! Good luck!

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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!)

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How to Make Free Time Productive

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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.

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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!

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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!

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