Dorm Life

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!

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!

SNOOZE! What to Cut from Your Morning Routine!

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Are you a snoozer? We all do it, hear the alarm, don’t really wake up, don’t really want to and hit the snooze button. Then, after about 20-30 minutes jump out of bed to realize class is in 10 minutes! What do you do?

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Here is a guide of what to do with how much time you have!

45 MINUTES:
You probably set a couple extra alarms, knowing you’d hit the snooze button – good! Keep doing that. You have time to do the whole morning routine, including a shower! Make sure you have everything you need before you leave early for class. You don’t want to show up 10 minutes early and see you don’t have your notebook or keys!

30 MINUTES:
Now you have two options. Choose between not feeling rushed and not feeling dirty.
Not Feeling Rushed: Skip the shower (if you are normally take a shower in the morning) and get everything else you need together, you can shower tonight. Make sure you’ve got the rest of your morning routine down, teeth brushed, face washed, and clean clothes on. Make the bed if you have an extra 2 minutes before you need to leave. You’ll appreciate it when you get back home!
Not Feeling Dirty: Brush your teeth and shower quickly. Think about what clothes you want to wear before you jump out. Make sure you have everything you need for class. Oh! Don’t forget to grab that breakfast bar before you leave!

15 MINUTES:
Really cutting it for time, eh? You obviously have already decided not to shower (unless you are a being of two minute showers), so head straight for the toothbrush and deodorant. Grab a set of, preferably clean, clothes. Make sure you have a notebook, a pen, your phone and your keys. Then, worry about anything else you might need for class. Head out when you can.

10 MINUTES:
Wow, you’re really living on the edge! This routine is the same as the 15 minutes, but forget about anything else you might need for class. I might stop and grab a coffee, so that you seem awake in class.

5 MINUTES:
GET OUT OF BED! Skip the clothes. College kids can go to class in PJs, right? Make sure your decent though and grab what you need for class. I might also grab some food – to give the appearance of wakefulness.

3 Cancelled-Too-Soon TV Shows for Your Next Netflix Binge

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1. Freaks and Geeks

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This Judd Apatow creation is a cult classic comedy from 1999. The show only lasted one season (18 episodes) and then it was tragically cancelled! The show was the start to many stellar careers. The cast was made up of some of your favorite actors including James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and Martin Starr. Set in a high school in Michigan in the 1980’s, the show mixed comedy with high school drama seamlessly and was a truly incredible, however short-lived, series. Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, Joe Flaherty, Becky Ann Baker, Busy Phillips, and Samm Levine round out the cast. (Available on Netflix)

2. Undeclared

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Another Judd Apatow creation that came after Freaks and Geeks, this comedy left high school behind and went straight into college. This show also only lasted one season with 17 episodes completing the series. The show focuses on a small group of college freshmen in the early 2000s (when the show first aired). The show starred Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, Charlie Hunnam, Carla Gallo, Monica Keena, Loudon Wainwright III, and Timm Sharp. Jason Segel, Kevin Hart, Amy Poehler, and Busy Phillips also make multiple appearances. Even the guest stars list is impressive. It includes Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Simon Helberg, Felicia Day, Martin Starr, Tom Welling, and Fred Willard to name a few. (Available on Netflix)

3. Arrested Development

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Arrested Development actually lasted 3 seasons in its original run before returning for a 4th and final season exclusively on Netflix on May 26, 2013, 7 years after the ending of its 3rd season. This comedy starred Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Wil Arnett, Michael Cera, Jessica Walter, David Cross, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, and Jeffrey Tambor. The cast makes up the dysfunctional, formerly wealthy Bluth family whose patriarch (played by Tambor) is in prison for fraud. His son, Michael (Jason Bateman) takes over the family business and, as a result, the family. The hilarious sitcom falls under the category known as “cinema verité” which is a documentary-similar style—think Modern Family, The Office, Parks and Recreation, etc. (Available on Netflix)

Cheap Eats

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When faced with the financial burden of college tuition and fees, one must stretch their budget elsewhere. There no getting around paying your college fees or textbooks, but you can stretch a dollar (or dollars) in other ways.

1. Chose meals that have a long shelf life.

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If you dorm, this may be especially useful. You may not always have the time to prepare a meal with fresh ingredients and they may spoil before you find that time. In this case, you risk losing your hard earned money. Meals that have a long shelf life are usually canned good, such as soups, certain fruits, vegetables and beans or prepackaged foods such as pasta, instant oatmeal and rice. Also, they are relatively inexpensive, costing no more than a few dollars for each item

2. Pasta, Pasta, and More Pasta

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Not only can you buy a package of pasta for no more than two dollars but you can make a meal out of it to last two or three days. It also falls under the list of non-perishable foods so there’s no worry of spoil before it’s cooked. Pasta can also give you that much needed energy as its high in carbohydrates. Ramen noodles has become a staple in many dorm rooms due to its versility and cheap price tag. A package can cost no more than 50 cents.

3. Quick Pick Me Ups

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Mothers always tell us to eat our fruits and vegetables and we should always follow their advice for they know best. Certain fruits and vegetables are expensive, especially if you may be searching for organic types. Bananas and apples, the loose variety not the bundles, are relatively cheap, readily available and easily consumed on the go. Just make sure it’s washed before consuming. Celery and carrot sticks in a to-go package is usually no more than 3 dollars.

4. Cheap Foods with a Short Shelf Life

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Keep in mind that the body needs a whole array of nutrients in order to sustain itself. With that being said, some foods may need to be consumed that do not have a long shelf life but will be relatively cheap nonetheless. Eggs for protein and versatility in salads or sandwiches, and fresh leafy greens for antioxidant and immune support such as Spinach, can be found for a few dollars per bundle.

Spending Time With Your Posse

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Staying on top of your studies is important. Making sure you spend time with your friends is just as important. Maintaining a social life, taking breaks from your school work- these things will keep you from going insane and getting burnt out too quickly.

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There are always things to do with your crew on and around campus. Activities such as bowling, ice-skating or a trip to the zoo are always fun. You could also find an interesting museum nearby or festival happening in the vicinity.

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Find a movie theater nearby campus and see the next big blockbuster with a bunch of friends (Mockingjay: Part 1 comes out in November, people!). See if there are any concerts coming up in the nearby area. Maybe your favorite sport’s team is playing nearby.

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You could also gather a group to go shopping. It can be for school supplies, for furniture you may need, for clothing you may have forgotten or just for the heck of it.

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Last resort? You could invite your friends to come watch a movie in your dorm room or find a lobby and watch the season premiere of that show you can’t believe ended in that INSANE cliffhanger last spring!!

 Spending time with your friends in college is important for your sanity. You should make time to hang out and do things other than sit on a quiet floor of the library all semester!

Go Greek or Go Home

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The attire called for business professional so imagine my surprise when I walked up in a smart navy dress and black blazer only to find a sea of girls in homecoming style dresses bearing it all. Along with the cleavage show came a strong downpour of rain which would ironically foreshadow what came next. The girls made a canopy of coach umbrellas to safeguard their hair and waited for their Rho Gammas to break the news.

When it was my turn, my Rho Gamma congratulated me on being invited back to the final party of the sorority I was most suited for. I took my card and strode away confidently. As some girls squealed in delight, others silently shed tears as their group leader did their best to comfort them. That’s the thing about sororities: they’re elite societies of women who pick and choose new members based on their own subjective judge of the hopeful applicant’s character and appearance.

Try as they might, not everyone gets in. It doesn’t matter if you have the highest GPA, a history of mission trips and service organizations under your belt or the most money in your back account. Recruitment is like speed dating; both parties have to like each other enough to form a long lasting relationship. You dress up, put on a string of pearls, spritz some Chanel #5 and give it your all. They want to know where you’re from, what your hobbies are, the plans you have for the future as they mentally rate your qualifications.

Let me give you the low down on the different categories of chapter houses. On one side are the traditional, not a hair out of place girls who push indecency under the rug. Let’s call them the Charlotte Yorks of the world. Across the street, you’ve got the polar opposite. These girls lounge around in their PJ’s eating ice cream and don’t mind getting a little dirt under their finger nails. These are the girls whose parents named them Alexandra and Kathryn only so they would shorten it to Alex or Kat. Next door to them are the ultra-feminist girls who believe in leadership and academic excellence or the Hilary Clintons. Catty-cornered to them live the southern belle sisters who know how to kick up their heels and have a good time.  These are the Daisy Mae Dixons. Whichever sisterhood they joined, they did so to befriend girls with a similar mind set as their own.

The intention is not to make people feel subservient, but this is the nature of sorority life. You either sell your soul for a monogrammed tote bag or you end up watching from the sidelines. Many sisters will tell you that they are not the “typical sorority girl”, that they are different and that they do not fall into the stereotypical Elle Woods category, but if the lavaliere fits honey – wear it with pride.  No I’m totally joking.

This article is not meant to disparage sorority members in any way. In fact, there were many young women who I met throughout recruitment that I have the utmost respect for. My Rho Gamma in particular was a gem. When I decided to decline going any further in the recruitment process, my first thought was – I hope I don’t let her down because she is someone that I have grown to look up to over the past few days. Many of the girls I met were extraordinarily passionate about their philanthropies and encouraging me to find a service project I was equally enthused with. I truly think the world of them for that. Others offered me advice on teachers and classes as well as surprised the hell out of me with the difficult majors they chose for themselves. They took the time to spend a couple of hours being my mentor and temporary “Big Sis”. I would really like to continue to build a friendship with these girls despite my non-Greek status. I am happy to say that I have no regrets about rushing and that it truly was a positive experience.

So as the baby Hilarys, Charlottes, Sporty Spices, and Daisies run out to greet their jubilant new sisters in their crisply pressed white dresses, I hope they remember that a few letters of the alphabet do not define them, that they are no better than their peers and that true sisters are selfless.

How to Beat Homesickness Freshmen Year of College

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Homesickness is very common among college freshmen.  For many first year college students it is the first time living away from their families, so missing home is completely natural and nothing to be ashamed of!  Here are a few helpful tips for when you find yourself feeling a homesick!

1. Before you move in, make sure to pack something personal that makes you feel more connected to home.  An old stuffed animal, blanket, or an old t-shirt/sweatshirt are all good options.  Having something in your room that makes you feel at home is really comforting.

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 2. Find one day a week that works for you and your family for Skype.  Talking on the phone is great, but actually getting to see each other while you’re talking makes a big difference! You can do the same thing with your friends!

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3. Pack your favorite books and DVDs.  When you start to get a little homesick, getting lost in your favorite book or movie can be really comforting.  Watching your favorite TV show on Netflix is also really helpful.  Weirdly enough, watching or reading something that makes you nostalgic can actually make you feel better when you start to miss home!

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4. Comfort food can also do wonders for homesickness.  When you’re missing home, treat yourself to some ice cream, cookies, mac and cheese, or whatever you love!  Eating something that makes you happy can help you get through it!

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5. Get a small plastic storage box and create a First Aid Kit with all the essentials as well as stocking up on any medication that you typically take when you get sick; things like cold medicine, stuff for nausea, and pain relievers/fever reducers like Tylenol.  When you start to feel a little under the weather, it can make you feel really homesick, so it’s good to be prepared.  The first time you get sick away from home is always the hardest; you’ll really want someone to take care of you, so already having what you need will make things easier!

 

Medicine

 

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Finding Your Perfect College

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When my high school career was coming to a close, the most difficult decision that I had to face was the decision of what college to attend. Only a very small portion of students really know where they want to go and what they want to do with their lives. For the rest of us, however, our desires are a little vaguer, which made the college decision process more difficult. Here’s a list of factors that I put into place in deciding where I would go to college.

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Class Size: This all depends on what kind of student-teacher experience you want. One of the perks of being in a small college is that you get more time to talk to your professor and learn more about their field of study. You also get more chances to find help for any classes you might be struggling in. On the contrary, one advantage of a big class is that more grade curves will likely be given and you have the chance to miss class and learn straight from the textbook (not that I’d recommend this).

Available Fields: Obviously, your college of choice needs to have whatever major(s) and minor(s) you are potentially interested in. Unless you know exactly what you want to do, it’s usually a good idea to look for colleges with plenty of options.  It is not uncommon for undergraduate students to change their major one or more times during their college experience.

Community Involvement: Many colleges have opportunities that will allow you to work with businesses and organization in the community to give students a better perspective of their fields of study.  This is also a good opportunity to begin making connections for your career. This is a very important aspect of college decisions, so make sure your school has good alumni relations and internship availabilities!

Campus Life: One thing that I want to stress is that you should definitely visit each college that you apply to. You could be living there for four entire years or longer.  You do not want to get there on day one only to realize that the school is essentially a prison. How your campus looks and feels to you is very important! In addition, learn about your school’s reputation on campus. Whether it has a party reputation, or a community service one, make sure you pick a college that will fit your personality while allowing you to grow and experience new things.

There are many more things to consider while looking at colleges, but unfortunately, I can only list these few. Something you need to remember is that while this decision IS very important, it is not the end of the world. If indeed, you do get to your college to start your freshman year and you absolutely hate it, don’t forget that you can always transfer! But give yourself time to become fully acclimated to the university, and you might find yourself falling in love with it in time! Good luck!

Beating the Wintertime Blues

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winter bluesAs winter approaches and the sun slowly disappears, many students begin to struggle with a variety of problems. Whether it’s being away from home, a ridiculous workload of homework, general stress or just a combination of all these things, every student suffers from some form of wintertime blues. Here’s a few suggestions to help you relax and see the light again.

Relax. The absolute most important thing to remember is to just relax. Believe it or not, stress happens to everyone. Sometimes the best way to deal with problems is to take a step back and look at them from the outside. Go out with friends, do something you love or find a new hobby. Whatever you choose to do, just let yourself forget your problems for a bit and come back to them with a fresh mind.

Meditating. A lot of people assume that meditation consists of deep thinking. For the most part, this isn’t true. Most meditation practices actually help to free your mind from your thoughts and your obsessions. Find a flat surface, sit up and focus on your breathing. As you sit still, try to manually relax each muscle in your body. Strive towards the goal of absolute silence…meaning no thoughts or emotions. I promise you it’s absurdly relaxing!

Meet new people. Another great way to get a new perspective on your world is to meet some new people. Get to know them and see what their views are. It’s very refreshing, and you never know who you’ll meet!

Clean. Try tidying up your dorm or apartment. Many times, a clustered room or environment can cause clustered thoughts and emotions. If you couldn’t tell, it’s not a good thing.

Get off campus. Sometimes a change in surroundings can help more than you can imagine. It sounds weird, but it really does work. Go to the mall or to a hiking trail nearby. Exercise is also a great way to perk up, so get moving! Do whatever you can to explore and get out of your cramped dorm.

While trying any of these suggestions, just make sure you remember that you are not alone in this. College isn’t exactly the easiest time in a person’s life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t relax and have fun. If you have any other ideas or methods of relaxing and staying cheery, let us know!