College Life

Read blogs in our college life category for advice on everyday situations and topics that affect college students.

Easy Meals to Make in a Dorm

Dorming in college has its perks as well as set backs. Some dorm buildings only supply students with a microwave and fridge. Late night meals are difficult to make when you don’t have the proper appliances. Have no fear, for this post is here! These easy meals can be made in a microwave in any dorm room as long as you have the ingredients. They may not be the most healthy option, but they will for sure satisfy your hunger!

Easy Meals to Make in a Dorm

1. Omelette

If you’re anything like me, eggs are an essential part to my diet. Living in a dorm for two years I was severely deprived of having eggs. With this recipe, you can have eggs at any time!

2. Chocolate Cake

For those who have late-night chocolate cravings, this recipe is for you! Who would’ve thought making chocolate cake in a mug was possible?!

3. Spinach Ricotta Lasagna

One of the worst parts of being in college, for me, is being away from my mom’s cooking. Although this recipe can’t compare to the real thing, it’s a good substitute.

4. “Baked” Sweet Potato

My housemate last year used to do this all the time to save time, but it works perfectly for those who dorm. Making a potato is satisfying, but using an oven can take longer than you’re willing to wait. Try this way out.

5. Classic Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is the staple college food. Companies like Kraft and Velveeta make mac and cheese in a cup that you can microwave. However, those can taste fake and processed. Follow this recipe that uses real pasta and cheese to get a better tasting mac and cheese using a microwave.

Enjoy these easy meals until you move to an apartment or graduate and have your own oven! Happy microwaving!

Easy Ways to Help Save the Planet

This past week, I started my online class for the summer about World Ecology Problems. To break it down, we basically debate and post about environmental problems. One of the first assignments was to watch a video called How to be Green Without being Prick. To sum it up, the guy in the video discusses that until people become educated and more aware, we can’t help save the planet.

We don’t realize how much of a direct influence we have on the environment. The video got me thinking about how I could do my part. Even in college right now, we can make slight adjustments to improve our ecological footprint. Below are some of the changes we can make to be more environmentally friendly.

What Can You Do to Help Out?

Easy Ways to Help Save the Planet

  • Lighting: Change your light bulbs to more energy efficient ones: they seem expensive, but they last up to 5x longer than regular bulbs so they pay off in the long run.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: It seems so simple but its easier to forget to recycle items like paper products and plastic containers. Reduce the amount of spending such as buying cases of water bottles and switched to a reusable water bottle. Instead of throwing away random items like clothes and furniture, consider up cycling them.
  • Be Aware: Be conscious to saving energy like setting your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter or for air conditioner a few degrees higher in the summer. Cutting down the time in the shower can save energy and also the amount of water usage as well.
  • Power Down: To go with saving energy, making sure to turn off lights when you leave a room. We all have been guilty of leaving a light on here and there and it does add up! Also consider trying to unplug any electronics and appliances when you’re not in the room.
  • Transportation: this may be an easier change due the fact as college students, we tend to walk everywhere. One way to go a step above that is car pooling to places like the grocery store or to work with coworkers.

With these simple changes in your daily routine, it not only will save Earth’s environment but I hope make you feel empowered to spread the word!

4 Ways to Save Money During Summer

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As a current college student, I definitely know the struggle of not having a lot of money. It can be a sensitive subject for me, especially when I’m talking about it with my parents. During the summer, college students are expected to find and maintain a job to earn money but sometimes I think parents forget how hard it is to find a job. It’s not as easy as you think! You don’t always luck out and get the first job you apply for. Sometimes it will take time but until that job comes around. Here are some ways that I have managed to spend less and save money this summer.

1. Budget

I cannot stress enough how important budgeting can be. So much money can be wasted if you don’t look carefully in to how much you spend daily, weekly, or even monthly. Making some type of budget to stick with and checking it continuously can make the difference on having $20 leftover or having $200 leftover when the summer comes to an end.

2. Plan ahead

In the summer, it is so easy to swept up by random events that you want to go to like concerts or making a trip with friends somewhere. Just like budgeting, you need to plan wisely how to use your money especially if there ends up being surprised bills later on that you aren’t ready for like car problems or parking tickets. Having planned set aside money can take some stress off of spending money on bills later on knowing you had planned ahead accordingly.

3. Use Your Resources

It so easy (I’m definitely guilty of it) to spend money on things simple things like coffee or eating out for lunch when using the resources you have at home can a cheaper alternative. Making coffee at home or making dinner at home can cut out those extra expenditures that you think won’t hurt your bank account but added up monthly can leave a serious dent in your pocket.

4. Never Impulse Buy

So much money can easily disappear when you buy something spontaneously. Sure in the moment you might really like those cool pair of shoes are worth it but in the end you probably already have a pair just like it at home. Taking out the impulse purchases and cutting back can be life lessons in college that help us out in the long run.

Hopefully these tips can help you save money this summer. Comment below with more ways to save!

5 Ways to Use Free Time in College

If you’re in college right now, you know that free time only comes around every so often. When you do find yourself with some free time, here are some useful ways you can spend it.

         1. Reorganize Your Notes/Notebooks

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Organizing your notes during your free time allows you to be more prepared for class and exams. During the semester, your notes can easily get disorganized due to a busy schedule. When you have free time, go through your notebook and organize your notes by chapters, titles and themes. This will help you find your notes when you need them and you can recall the information more quickly when it gets to the time when you go to class or take tests. You can use sticky notes to sort through your notes and more easily access your notes. Rearrange your notes in sections if your notes have been misplaced in the binders. When you are studying, use your notes as a guide to write more notes outside of class from the sections covered in class in the textbook and combine them with your notes from class. Also, highlight information covered in class or mark the sections as the professor discusses the information in class so that you don’t forget. Rewrite or type out your notes if your handwriting is messy. Annotate your books with notes in the margins in class and outside of class to write better research and perform better in class. These are helpful ways to do well in school.

2. Straighten/Organize Your Books

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By the middle of the semester, your room is probably cluttered with books and notes. Collect your books and reorganize them by subjects and research topics. When you have checked out books from the library for research papers and have numerous textbooks you need to strategize and find a way to reorganize your books. Stack them together based on subject topics and categories place them on your book shelf, in crates, under your lamp stand or under your desk. Try to keep your desk clean so that you can work without clutter distracting you from your studies.

3. Update Your Dorm Room Decorations

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When you need a break, take time and redecorate your room. You can add or replace pictures, posters, awards, door decorations, pillows, and other collegiate memorabilia. You can change out accessories to make your room have a completely different look. You can create new dorm room decorations if you want to make your room look creative and original. Adding different color contrasts can also make all the difference in creating or changing your room’s style.

4. Treat Yourself to the Salon

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When you need a break from class, take a trip to the salon and get your nails and hair done. You will relax and feel refreshed after getting your hair or nails done. If you have a busy schedule, spending time at the salon is a good way to relieve stress and help you feel your best. Guys, this is not limited to girls! You deserve some R & R at the salon as well. Girls appreciate a well-kept guy.

 5. Think of Party Themes

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Regardless of whether you are in a sorority, you can use your free time to think of party themes for your friends. Sororities typically host theme parties to make each event special by presenting different and exciting ideas. It doesn’t have to be a birthday, holiday or a particular season to host theme parties. Hosting parties can open up doors in your social life. It’s a great way to make new friends. People you invite to your party will likely put you down as an invite to their next get together! So give it a shot, throw an awesome themed party!

In college, free time is often rare. You should spend it however you like! Participating in productive activities can help you have peace of mind when you’re running around during the week. Hopefully you can use some of the above ideas to make the most of your free time this semester. Enjoy…

4 Tips for Thanksgiving Break Bliss

Thanksgiving Break can be a very blissful time for most college students. If you’re lucky, you can bring home all your laundry and have mom cook you real food. It’s the much-needed break you get right before the stress of final exams. Here are 4 tips for Thanksgiving Break bliss.

1. Take Naps

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Since it is getting close to finals, taking time in the afternoon to take a break and get a nap in will help you stay refreshed. Throughout the semester, you have worked hard studying, researching and/or writing. You should try to take a break for at least an hour or two a day from your schedule to rest for finals. It is best to begin studying some several weeks in advance for your finals. You need all of the sleep you can get to do your best after spending most of your time and energy on your studies for the last three to four months. Let’s be real, taking a nap never disappoints!

2. Watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade

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A great way to celebrate Thanksgiving before the meal is to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade on tv. If you oversleep that morning, you can tape it and watch it later. If you wake up in time to watch it live,  watch it with family and friends. It’s interesting to see what new floats and entertainment that is used every year for the parade to celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s also a good way to forget about class for a while and embrace your inner child.

 3. Spend Time with Family

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If you are traveling home for the Thanksgiving Break, it’s great to spend time with your family since you have been away from home all semester. You can help out with the cooking, enjoy the fall weather, watch football or play games while catching up with everything going on in each other’s lives.

4. Decorate and Get Ready for Christmas

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Since Thanksgiving is followed up by Christmas, you can spend some time over Thanksgiving weekend picking out a Christmas tree. It can be a bonding experience with your immediate family to decorate the tree and your house together for the upcoming holiday. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can go shopping with your family on Black Friday early and get the best deals on Christmas, or just wait for Cyber Monday to avoid the crowds. 🙂

Taking time to spend time with your family and friends during the holiday is a great way to get a break from school before finals. We hope these tips help you have yourself a blissful Thanksgiving Break…

P.s. Still need a textbook to study for finals when Thanksgiving Break bliss ends? Shop Knetbooks for cheap textbook rentals!

Benefits of Being Single in College

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While you are in college, choosing to be single can be appealing for many reasons. While you are studying in school, staying single gives you more time to focus on issues that you are uncertain about in your life. Several college students are often unsure of their major and their future. Staying single during college gives you time to explore what your interests are and help you find out what you value most with less distractions. You have more free time to participate in extra-curricular activities and events in college too when you’re not worrying about making another person happy.  These activities can allow you to focus your energy on finding creative ways to express who you are and help you meet new people that can help you choose a major, if you are uncertain.  The school work in college is rigorous and since relationships are often emotionally draining and time consuming, choosing to be single is the best option for some students. College often sets the tone for some people to not take life seriously by being single and living a partying lifestyle. You can get off track by giving into some of the peer pressures of being single and living the typical college student’s lifestyle. When analyzed differently, you can decide to choose to be single as a way to take life more seriously through your studies combined with self-study and reflection. You can show leadership by being a student that does not let others tell them what to think or believe and take their studies seriously. Your time in college can help you find out what your beliefs, values, and opinions of the world are.  Choosing to be single can benefit some in this quest.

Choosing a Major

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Spending more of your time with lots of different people that major in different areas can help you learn more about other majors to decide for yourself what is the best major for you to choose. You can spend more time with others to find out what their overall opinions of what the majors have to offer, what the course work is like, and how the major has help them find success and find happiness. You have more time to spend with your family and friends. Family and friends can often help you find the stability that most college students need and often cannot find in unsteady dating relationships.  College is a time of uncertainty in of itself for most people as they are trying to make their way in the world, and as most relationships come and go the relationships only become a distraction from your future success. It is best to find social groups that offer unconditional support and friendship to help you find your way in life. Some students leave school because of relationships; they get married and have children. When this occurs, most people do not finish their degree.  Your future can be greatly affected by decided to let one person dictate your future when you might not make the same salary by dropping out of school and the relationship might not last.

Discovering Who You Are and Finding Your Future

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You should have full control over your future and make choices for yourself. College teaches you the importance of thinking for yourself and outside of the box. When you are presented with a series of difficult life choices, college teaches you not to compromise who you are to find true happiness and success that no one can take away from you.  Discovering you who are as individual with the gifts that you are given helps you to appreciate life and see more clearly what life is all about. When you follow what the crowd or one person wants you to be, you lose your sense of self and your whole world can fall apart. Learning to be by yourself and be devoted to your studies helps you not to let anyone or anything stop you from achieving your dreams and use your knowledge to help improve this world. At the same time being single helps you learn to think more of others than of yourself, you learn to think more about how others think feel and what they perceive about the world and not only of how or your significant other view the world.

Helping the World

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Being single gives you invaluable time to let your opinions stand out and let your voice be heard apart from the typical views of others and not let the world tell you who you are. You learn that there is more to life than love and romance as you focus on other aspects of the world while you are being educated. College offers you a platform to help change the world, and you can best use your opinions as an individual for the ultimate good of yourself and others if you chose to do so. Many colleges can provide you with opportunities to travel by yourself or with a group to help out the less fortunate as well. If you were interested, not being involved in a relationship can make it easier to pack up and leave for such an opportunity. Being single in college is a sacrifice, but it is worth it in my opinion.

All About Sorority Rush

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Whether you are a freshman or about to finish college, sorority rush is a great way to meet new people and make connections. Most colleges begin rush either a few weeks before school starts or a month or so into the fall semester. The entering freshman class receives the opportunity to get to know more students during their first year by participating in sorority rush even if they decide not to pledge.

Pick up an Application

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Students are to visit student life and pick up an application to start the process of rush. The application requires the students to attach a photo, along with a description of their academic and extra-curricular accomplishments, their year in college, their major, and their GPA. The sororities look for the most well-rounded students that excel in both academics and extra-curricular activities, since the sororities compete with one another throughout the year to strive to make the best impression on next year’s group of new potential members. The sororities use this application to select new members as they review their interactions and interviews with the potential new members each night of rush.

Prepare for Rush Week

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Rush lasts for a week and is a rigorous process that requires the potential new members to communicate efficiently with numerous sorority members per house, dress properly, be knowledgeable about each sorority and describe how the new member would benefit the organization as a whole. At the start of sorority rush the potential new members are divided into small groups with a Rho Gamma leader. The Rho Gamma directs and guides the potential new members through the process. The Rho Gamma presents their experience going through rush to the new members, in order to encourage them as they prepare for each night. It is usually best to have some idea of which sororities you are more interested in than others before starting rush. Also, it is best to have some connections with others that have already been through rush before to ask for advice and to have connections with a sorority or fraternity before deciding to pledge. Some of the women’s sororities are actually known as fraternities and new members should be knowledgeable of the distinctions between each sorority.

First Night of Sorority Rush: Open House

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The first night of rush consists of an open house. The first night is usually the most difficult experience because the new members are just becoming adjusted to talking to at least four or five members per house in a relatively short amount of time. On the first night, potential new members should make a good first impression by describing their academic and or extra-curricular accomplishments. It is best to already know about the philanthropy and the interests of the sorority or fraternity beforehand, but if not you can still do well as long as you strive to make a significant effort to learn about the organizations as you go through the process.

Second Night of Sorority Rush: House Tours

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The second night is the house tours. On this night, the sororities try their best to impress the potential new members with singing, performances, various hands on activities, and introductions to the philanthropies. This is the time when the potential new members should pay the most attention to detail as they are to present themselves as confident in their future membership through their knowledge of the sororities’ and fraternities’ interests and expectations. The potential new members should try to be even more engaged in conversation as they interconnect their own interests and accomplishments with the views and standards of each sorority or fraternity. You can be invited to up to three houses until the final night.

Final Night of Sorority Rush: Pref

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The final night is pref night and at this time you can only be invited to up to two parties. This night is known as the most critical one-on-one experience of all the nights during rush between the members and the potential new members. At this time, the members are trying to make the final decision as to which potential new members will receive a bid to join the sorority. The potential new members should try to persuade the members as to why they believe that they could make a difference in the sorority or fraternity and more importantly that they are more interested in the organization than the other girls.

Bid Day

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The sororities will only choose the girls that they are more convinced will be involved in the sorority and that are genuinely interested in joining. Some of the pressure can be taken off the potential new members as they realize that the members are trying harder to convince the new members as to why they should join their organization and that all they have to do is describe how interested they are in Greek life. Rush is worthwhile because you make new friends and learn how can improve college life by joining a sorority. Bid day is a once in a life time experience and if you make it that far you have proven how you belong in an organization that exemplifies true leadership and sets a positive example on campus.

Comment below with your sorority rush questions or experiences!

Safety Tips for College Students

Being in your dorm by dark isn’t always doable, but preparing yourself for safety can be. These are safety tips for college students on campus, whether you’re leaving your late class or a party, being prepared for anything can give you some peace of mind.

Use the Buddy System

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When you’re walking home from class or a party in the dark, it’s always best to have a good friend by your side. If something were to go wrong, at least there is someone with you and someone knows where you are. An extra pair of eyes to be on the lookout never hurts either!

Talk on Your Phone

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Talking on the phone is something that a lot of us are used to doing on a daily basis. If you’re coming home from somewhere on campus late at night and are starting to feel a little scared, call someone and talk to them while you’re walking. Not sure who to call? You could call home- they miss you! Or call a friend, I’m sure there’s something the two of you could talk about. Make sure you let whoever you called know exactly where you are located. This way someone would instantly know if something happened.

Know the Emergency Boxes

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There are emergency call boxes on every campus.  If you’re out and about, make sure you know where they are in case you need to get to one. These call boxes connect you directly to campus security.  You can contact the office and have them tell you where the boxes are if you don’t already know.

Carry Pepper Spray

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Many of us have heard of pepper spray, but have you ever actually used it? Pepper spray is very useful, especially in the fact that you don’t have to actually come in contact with an attacker when you use it. Educated yourself all about pepper spray and go pick some up to carry with you on campus. It can be found at most stores.

Learn Self Defense

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Using self defense requires you to react and fend off a possible attacker. Self defense classes are often offered at your near by gym. I’ve taken a basic one before and not only did I learn to defend myself, it was a great workout and I had a lot of fun! See if one of your friends wants to find a self defense class to take with you.

These are some safety tips to help you protect yourself on campus. Don’t worry that you college campus is unsafe.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

What safety tips work for you on your college campus? Share in the comments below!

How to Bond with College Roommates

The start of the fall semester is starting soon, and for many college students this means new living situations and often new roommates. Although some may be living with friends, there are plenty of students and especially freshman who have yet to form a connection with their college roommates. Here are some ways to form and improve a relationship with a new college roommate.

Find a Commonality

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The easiest way to bond with a new roommate is to find something that you have in common. Try broaching a variety of subjects to see where your tastes are similar and find something that you have the same opinion on or same interest in.

Go Somewhere Non-School Related With Them

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If roommate relationships are restricted mostly to the dormitories, they may seem forced. If you expand your relationship with your roommate outside of the dorm and go somewhere together either by yourselves or in a group, the relationship will feel more genuine and likely become stronger.

Introduce Each Other to Preexisting or New Friends

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Making friends with your roommate’s friends and them doing the same is an easy way to bond with someone. If they get along well with your friends then it is easier to include them in group activities and thus become better friends outside of the dorm or room.

Attend School Organized Events with Them

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Universities make events for freshman and even upperclassman to get out and meet new people on campus. By going somewhere with your roommate you can get out and meet new people on campus, but have a familiar face there who can back you up if you need a confidence booster or help meeting new people.

Set Expectations for Behavior Within the Dorm

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One of the hardest things about having roommates is that everyone has differing ideas of how duties should be spread and how each other should act in the context of the room. It is important to have an initial talk about what both parties expect so that there are no surprises down the line and you lessen the chance of someone being overly annoyed at a particular action or way of living.

First-Year Peer Mentoring

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In order for college students to be successful in their future careers, they should strive to become achievers that rise above and beyond traditional standards. One outstanding option to attain the skills that are required for students to accomplish their career objectives while they are studying in college is to participate in peer mentoring. There are numerous college campuses with peer mentoring programs. The advantage of choosing to become involved in a peer mentor program, as opposed to other volunteer programs, is shown through the fact that students do not have to go outside of the college campus to help others.

Students can participate in peer mentoring programs as seniors to help guide freshman as they enter and embark on the journey of the college experience for the first time. The freshman class greatly needs proper advice from their peers that have already been through the college experience and have excelled in their studies. Peer mentors can provide information on campus life, the surrounding area where the college is located, studying tips, researching, and essay writing. These are all components that are crucial for students to become acquainted with as they start college in order for them to become successful during their first year. By receiving assurance from seniors, freshman students receive the confidence they need to find their place in college life and in this world.

Once you choose to become a peer mentor during your senior year of college, you become more experienced at proving your abilities to the world. You can prove your capabilities to your colleagues, your future employers, and your peers by applying the knowledge you received from your education to real life experiences that go beyond becoming a successful student, as you also prove that you have become an outstanding representative of your community.When you become a senior and are about to graduate, you should look back on your college experience and want to offer all that you learned to help others become successful because you were also once in the same uneasy position as the freshman at one time. Once you peer mentor college freshman as a senior, you will gain the leadership skills you need to succeed in the future and these skills will enhance your resume that future employers will review. Choosing to be a peer mentor helps students make the first and greatest transition in becoming a future success and you can make a difference by volunteering.

Comment below with your thoughts or experiences on first-year peer mentoring!