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5 Free Apps to Have on Your Phone

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1. Calm by Calm.com

This app is great to help you de-stress!  Through guided meditation and loads of calming music, this app helps you relieve stress, fall asleep, and relax.  This is a great way to deal with the stress you’ll be under at school.  Whether you’re anxious about a test, midterms, finals week, or overwhelmed by all of your responsibilities, this app can really help you feel calm, focused, and ready to take on the world!

calm

2. Venmo

 Do you ever find it hard to split the bill when you go out to eat with friends or when you buy groceries with your roommates?  Venmo lets you link up your bank account to the app so you can send money directly to someone else without having to worry about taking out cash or splitting up an odd number.  Don’t worry, it’s completely safe and no one can gain access to your account, but you.  You can even set a passcode for the app itself so only you can get onto it!

venmo

3. Your Bank’s Mobile App (This could be PNC, Bank of America, Chase, etc.)

 This will make your life so much easier!  Many of these apps allow you to deposit checks from wherever you are by taking photos of the front and back of the check.  You can also set up transfers, track your activity, and check your balance.  These apps are so convenient and make it so easy to manage your budget.  It really comes in handy when you’re out and about and need to check your balance!

pnc

4. Airline Apps (United, JetBlue, Southwest, etc.)

 If you fly home for breaks or are going on a big spring break trip, these apps are great!  You can book a flight, check the status of a flight, check-in, and get your boarding pass right on your phone with them.  You never have to worry about forgetting or losing your boarding pass because it’s right on your phone!  You just scan the bar code on your mobile boarding pass at security and at the gate and you’re good to go.  These apps also send you notifications of any delays or gate changes.  You can even change your seats and make upgrades through the app.  And if you make an account, you can get rewards for your miles!

airline

5. Google Maps

 If you don’t already have Google Maps on your phone, you should download it ASAP!  It has turn-by-turn GPS directions, gives you the option to choose between public transportation, driving, walking, and biking directions, check traffic, and drop pins to help you find your way back if you’re walking, hiking, or lost!  This app is a lifesaver!

googlemaps

Avoid Your Comfort Zone!

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College is a time for exploration and enlightenment. High school was fun, but
there will be many more opportunities to explore things that you may not have ever
considered before.
Avoid Your Comfort Zone Image 1
Take an interesting elective class: Use electives as a way to explore subjects that you
may not have been exposed to within your major. Try a science class if you’re a
humanities major. If your major is in the liberal arts, try out a math class. Who
knows? You might even find a field you like even better than your current major!

Avoid Your Comfort Zone Image 2

Explore a new extra curricular activity: If you are normally drawn to the arts, try a
new sport! Intramurals are a great way to try out a sport without the stress or
commitment of playing on a college team. Similarly, if you’re usually athletic, try out
something artsy! If you’re not quite ready to hit the stage, many school productions
always need help backstage with painting sets, props, etc.

Getting out of your comfort zone will allow you to make new friends, meet different
kinds of people with different viewpoints, find new things to do, and go places
you’ve never been!

How do you stay out of your comfort zone? Let us know in the comments below!

What a Rush!

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As the days of summer continue to melt away, another fall semester is on the horizon. In a few short weeks college campuses around the country, which have been ghost towns for the past two and a half months, will be bustling with life. And for many freshmen males, this will be the beginning of their fraternal journey to enduring brotherhood and networking as rush usually takes place within the first month of the semester. As you set forth on your excursion, here are a few things to keep in mind:

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Do your research: During rush, fraternity guys turn into car salesmen.One phrase you’ll hear numerous times is, “We’re the absolute best on campus at….” And you can fill that blank with pretty much anything; academics, intramurals, crocheting. If you do your homework however, you can better prepare yourself for the week. General information including philanthropies and history can usually be found on national fraternity websites. Upperclassmen that have been around campus for a year or so can also be a respectable resource as they know the reputations of the various groups and can probably tell you a story or two. Also, the parties and social events that are thrown prior to rush are a great way to observe the group in its natural habitat. I remember being so disappointed in a house I once was excited about when I attended their rush party and the guys in the chapter were not friendly and just downright creepy when it came to interacting with the female party guests. Although I still didn’t know which house I would join, I knew it wouldn’t be that one.

joey with frat bros

Would I REALLY hang out with these guys?: Your fraternity brothers are the guys you’re going to spend the most time with during your tenure as an undergrad. You’ll do all types of things together from falling out of your boat at canoe regatta to camping trips you’ll find yourself horribly unprepared for. Some of these guys may even wind up standing next to you in your wedding one day. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure you are surrounding yourself with guys you actually enjoy being around. Mute the prestige of the fraternity, the awesome parties, the suburb networking and your father and older brothers urging you to “continue the family tradition” and ask yourself one simple question: “If we weren’t in the same fraternity, would I REALLY hang out with these guys?”  Like putting together a puzzle, rush is all about finding the perfect fit.

Fraternity Rush

There is no shame in waiting: Although fall rush is typically the main event, there is also a spring recruitment period as well. And while some people are ready to dive into Greek life immediately, some need a little more time to get acclimated to college life. There is no shame in getting your feet on the ground and waiting until the spring (or even a later year) to join. You may actually be doing a fraternity a favor by waiting as spring rush numbers tend to be low anyway.

rush is over

If it’s not for you, it’s not for you: Websites like TFM usually find humor in shaming non-Greeks. Although I could write a nine part column on all of the benefits of going Greek. The truth is, it’s not for everyone. There are students that never set foot in a fraternity house and they do just as well academically and socially as the chapter president. One of my best friends aren’t Greek and we’ve enjoyed 5 years of marriage just fine.

7 Things To Do When You’re Broke

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Let’s face it, many college students are usually a little short on cash. Not because they don’t work or have money, but because they use their money on important items, like textbooks and food, which could be a bit pricey. Luckily, there are plenty of fun things to do with friends or alone that will cost next to nothing.

Piggie bank

1. Go for a Hike or Walk

Put on those walking shoes and put in those ear buds because this fresh air will make you feel amazing.

2. Have a Picnic

In the mood to dine out but don’t have the money? Having a picnic changings your regular routine, making it feel fresh and exciting, similar to dining out.

3. Meet at the Nearest Coffee Shop

Bring friends and a few dollars for coffee or tea.

4. Read a Book

Visit your school or public library and immerse yourself in a good mystery novel.

5. Rent a movie

Renting a movie only costs a few dollars and if you’re with friends, they can help front the cost. Better yet, if you frequently want to watch movies and TV shows, Netflix is even better than renting.

6. Play a Board Game

If you or a friend has board games, now would be a great time to play them. Not only is it free but you can spend time with another person or with many.

7.  Make Something

DIY projects sometimes require items you no longer use either around your house or in your dorm. Search the internet or your own imagination and create items into something useful again.

If all else fails, catch up on some school work or if your professors have given you an itinerary for the full semester, start completing work for the following week.

Savoring Summer

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Summer

Now that I’ll be a senior in college this year, I look back and realize exactly how precious this time of the year really was. Instead of really taking the time to enjoy my summers, I complained about how hot it was and shut myself in the house indefinitely. Now, I’m here trying to make up for all those squandered days and nights by doing this list of things I’ve found to be effective when trying to savor summer.

Grab a bunch of friends and do something out of your comfort zone.

                     Do something different! If everyone in the group is out of their comfort zone, you’ll all have to rely on each other to make the experience what it is. I’m currently planning a picnic, and looking up cabin rentals and laser tag specials as possible activities for my friends and I!

Grab lunch from different places around town.

Try not to eat at fast food places. You’ll never know what your local town offers if you don’t step out and try. My best friend and I are currently doing this and have been opened to a world of healthy, cheap foodie gems.

GO OUT.

A lot of us can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of “summer jobs”, but when you look back on your summers when you’re older, you’ll be wishing you did a little more of this and a little more of that on the dance floor when you had the chance.

Pool, pool, pool.

It’s hot. Why not? Grab a bunch of friends, tap into your younger days with pool noodles and goggles, and head down Splishy Splashy Way.

Gym.

  I know, I know. You’re like whaaat? While this may seem like an unconventional summer idea, this the only time you’re away from the stress of school that’s usually the cause of added weight gain. Why not try to get your body right before the school year? From personal experience, working out this summer has helped me gain a new sense of confidence… AND I can walk longer distances without sweating out of my shirt which is a total plus.

Stack that paper.

  Now’s the time to really get those hours in (or build up your resume), so you can ball out during the school year without worry!

Listen: I could give you all the ideas in the world, but it’s up to YOU to make your summer! For some of us (like myself) this is the last summer until true adulthood. This may even be your last summer away from your high school friends. It’s time to own the summer before school, or responsibility, snatches it away!

Must Accomplish Memorial Day Activities

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Memorial Weekend is quickly approaching and it could only mean one thing: Summer has officially arrived!!!

girl with flag

 

I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free!

I’m going to be honest here, for the longest time I had no idea that Memorial Day unofficially marked the beginning of summer, I was clueless for so many years! But to be fair I grew up in ‘Military City USA’ (San Antonio, TX) and yes, you guessed it, Patriotic holidays were always a big deal in my hometown. So, whether you’re spending this Memorial Day weekend reuniting with family and friends or sunbathing on the beach, it’s important to remember why we celebrate this very special holiday. Memorial Day is a day of “National Mourning” in which we honor the heroes who have sacrificed their lives to protect our nation’s freedom.

What better way to spend Memorial Day than to celebrate the lives of those who give back to those who served our country:

1) Volunteer to help replace worn out grave markers/flags of deceased veterans at local cemeteries.

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2) Wear a poppy. Purchase them from your local veterans groups (VFW, American Legion) each poppy purchase is a donation towards assisting disabled veterans in surrounding communities.

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3) Take part in Memorial Day Charity runs: It’s a fun way to raise money for your local veterans groups and current military families in your surrounding community while getting your body beach ready.

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4) Reach out to Military families. Operation Homefront and Operation Gratitude are great organizations allow you to give back to those who have given up their lives for our freedom.

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Don’t forget to honor our fallen heroes at 3 p.m. locally on Memorial Day during the National Moment of Remembrance.

Have a safe and fun filled weekend. xoxo!

6 Thrifty Ways to Enjoy Summer Break

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With May came graduations, the end of final exams, packing up, and moving on to the next chapter of this year: summer break. There is finally time to relax and spend time with family and friends, but as a college student or recent graduate, many of us are still on tight budgets. Here are some low cost (or free!) ways to enjoy this summer without breaking the bank.

1. Go to a public beach Beach_Public

If you live on a coast or by the Great Lakes, this can be a perfect option for you! Many beaches are free and have free parking for residents. You can also pack your own lunch and bring things to do such as a Frisbee or a volleyball.

 

 

Picnic2. Have a Picnic

If you don’t have any beaches nearby, find a park in your area and have a picnic. Bring a few friends and make it a potluck and you’ll cut costs even more.

 

 

Hiking3. Go Hiking

Take advantage of the sunshine and head out on a hiking trail in your area. The best part about it is it’s absolutely free! Spending time outdoors can really make you appreciate the beauty around you: no wifi required.

 

 

Museum4. Visit a Museum on a Free Day

During the summer months, many museums and aquariums have free days on the weekends. These places will usually advertise events such as these on their websites and in local newspapers.

 

 

Movies5. Go to the movies

When summer heat gets too intense, take advantage of air conditioning and catch a movie. After all, it’s time for summer blockbusters!

 

 

Concert6. Catch a Free Concert or Theatre Production

Keep an eye out for advertisements for local free concerts. Many parks and small theatres have shows for upcoming bands or community theatre productions. These ticket prices are usually very low (or free!) and you can support local artists at the same time. It’s a win-win!

 

 

Share your thrifty summer plans in the comments below!

The One Band You Need to See Live This Summer: DMB

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Dave Matthews Bandsuntimes.com

With the spring semester quickly progressing, college kids everywhere are scurrying to make summer plans. Some travel, while others rent beach houses or relax at home. But personally, I like to go see live music. There’s no question about it: summer time is concert season. The warm weather makes for a comfortable outdoor experience to listen to some of my favorite bands. Yet, one band stands out far above the rest, and that’s the Dave Matthews Band.

I’ve seen DMB live ten times thus far, and I’ve never left a show disappointed. The environment at every show is electric, regardless of the venue, but summer shows are always the best. The lawn tends to be filled with college-aged kids looking for nothing but a good time. Once Dave Matthews gets on stage, the place simply erupts. Before the band even plays a single note, you just get the feeling that you’re about to see something special. And you always do.

DMBgorgeamphitheatre.net

For a band that’s played approximately 2,000 concerts over the course of about two decades, the energy of each performance is unbelievable. From Carter Beauford, the drummer, to Boyd Tinsley, the violinist, each member goes all out every night. Dave Matthews’ eccentric personality shines through in every performance, as he takes frequent breaks to talk to the crowd and thank them for coming, even sharing a story or two.

As a self-proclaimed Dave Matthews fanatic, the joy I get at these shows is hard to put into words. Yet, people who don’t even listen to the band come to the concerts and have a great time. The atmosphere and the music itself are perfect for any warm summer night. So if you’ve never experienced it, the one band you need to see live this summer: DMB.

Dave Matthews Banddiffuser.fm

 

 

Top 3 Must Watch Watched Netflix Shows

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I caught you. I know your dirty little secret.  It’s okay that you’re watching Netflix instead of studying like you’re supposed to be. Hey it’s cool, I’m not judging. I, myself have procrastinated for hours with the help of Netflix. So, today I decided to share with you my top 3 most watched Netflix shows.

Netflixwww.google.com

1. New Girl- I love Zooey Deschanel’s quirky charm so it’s natural New Girl is one of my favorite TV shows. New Girl is about a down-on-her-luck school teacher, Jessica Day, who moved in with three male strangers after she caught her boyfriend cheating on her. Each episode focuses on the growing relationship between the 4 roommates and the hilarious situations they somehow manage to get tangled in. If you love quirky and corny jokes then this is the show for you!

New Girlwww.tvrage.com

2.  Mad Men- Okay, I admit it…I am currently counting down the days till the season 7 premier of Mad Men on April 11th. I can’t help it, I’m addicted. Mad Men is an AMC original series about a Top New York advertising company in the 1960′s. It follows the lives of both the men and women who work in the office. This series is filled to the brim with office scandals, heartbreak, 60’s fashion and extraordinary pick up lines. If you love a good love pentagon then make sure you check this show out.

Mad Menwww.epicdash.com

3. Sherlock- If you’re attracted to chiseled cheek bones then you will definitely love starring at Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC’s Sherlock. The modern adaption puts you side by side with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as they scramble to solve mysteries. Each episode is 2 hours long and full of clever, extremely witty and surprising endings. Be careful, you’ll get hooked. Goodbye GPA, Hellloooo Benedict.

Sherlockwww.goolge.com

 

Beating Winter Break Boredom with Books

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reading by fireFor most students, fall semester is coming to a close and winter break is upon us. While this time of year is packed full of gearing up for next semester and getting ready for the holidays, sometimes we need to take time for ourselves and relax. For many students, that means curling up with a hot beverage and immersing themselves in a good book. If you’re one of these people, try these awesome books this winter break:

A Separate Peace by John Knowles. This is a coming-of-age story about two boys in prep school who become best friends. While building their friendship, there is a lot of competition in athletics, academics and even friendship. With competition comes a competitive attitude, and it sets up the conflict of the story. This is Knowles’s best-known work, and has won several awards.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. First written in 2006, the story is a moving tale about the power of reading in Nazi Germany. When foster child Liesel and her brother are on their way to a foster home, her brother dies and Liesel keeps a book to remind herself of him. There’s a catch, however. She doesn’t know how to read. Her foster father teaches her how, and after a book burning ceremony, Liesel starts “collecting” books. Then everyone’s life changes when they start hiding a Jew from the Nazis. The power of reading binds fugitive Max and Liesel together.

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht. Set in the Balkan region of Europe, a young doctor recalls her relationship with her grandfather and the stories he shared with her. It’s aptly named for the story he tells her of a deaf and mute girl from his village, who befriended a stripped zoo escapee. While the main storyline is about the Balkan wars and how doctors dealt with them, it’s also about a woman who, no matter how old she is, can always remember her grandpa.

Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck. This is the first book in a four-book series. High school student Kelsey Hayes gets a part-time job at a circus in town, where she lays eyes on a beautiful white tiger named Ren, one of the performing animals. She’s in for a surprise, however, when Ren shows that he’s actually an Indian prince under a curse. Along with her tiger guide, Kelsey risks everything to break the ancient prophecy. Can she do it?

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter. This too is the first book in a series known as Shadow Falls. Born at Midnight is about a young girl named Kylie Galen, who ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time. As a result, she gets shipped off to a troubled teens camp. In reality, though, the camp is full of supernatural beings. Add boys into the mix, and Kylie’s life becomes anything but normal. Can she figure out where she fits in, and if she’s part of this group too?

Have a recommendation of your own, or an opinion on one of these books? Let us know in the comments below!