College

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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Sticking to Your Guns

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Setting a budget can seem like a daunting task especially when there are so many expenses to keep track of. When you’re a college student on a tight budget, there’s no point in making a budget because you’re already in debt anyway. Right? Not so much. Your finances aren’t completely a lost cause and shouldn’t be put to the back of your mind until graduation. Here are a few tips to set a budget and stick to it.

1. Prioritize
Knowing what is most important to you and your success is the best way to keep your mind focused on your budget. Keep your eye on the prize (graduation) and you will be much less tempted to blow through your tuition savings on that fancy jacket you’ve had your eye on.

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2. Avoid Temptation
When you know you are at the end of your budget rope, stay away from big sales and stores altogether. Odds are you will end up making impulse purchases with money that you really should have used for textbooks instead.

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3. Count every purchase
It’s tempting to count small purchases as freebies when it comes to your budget. A box of mints here, a nail polish there, and before you know it you’ve racked up quite a bill of small purchases that you didn’t account for in your budget.

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4. Ask yourself if you really need it
Even when we have the best intentions, a budget can be ruined with buying things that you just don’t need. Let’s say you need a paintbrush for your art class. You arrive at the art supply store and you see a fancy set that you’re pretty sure Picasso himself recommended. Purchasing such a luxury is a budget blowing move that you could try to justify, but deep down you know that you could have cut easily cut costs by only buying what you truly need.

What tricks do you use to stick to your budget? Let us know in the comments below!

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Picking Up a Healthy Habit

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With a much busier schedule and living away from home, staying healthy in college can be more difficult. With just a little extra work, however, it can be done. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make staying healthy easier:

1. Get enough sleep

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When you’re bogged down with class work, meetings, concerts, and athletic activities, it can be hard to catch your full eight hours. Make it a priority to get as much high quality sleep as possible. Stay off of your phone and social media before bedtime so you won’t be tempted to stay up watching cat videos for hours.

2. Watch what you eat

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When you’ve got a million other things to do, it can be tempting to order pizza every night instead of eating real food for dinner. Be sure to stock your fridge with food to make quick healthy meals so you’ll be less tempted to order take out.

3. Keep stress to a minimum

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It’s difficult to live a stress free life as a college student, but you can keep your stress level under control by managing your time wisely and making sure you aren’t making more commitments than you can handle.

4. Stay active

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If you can’t block off a large amount of time to dedicate to working out, find ways throughout your day to be active. Take a break while studying and do a few jumping jacks in your dorm room. Grab a friend and jog around campus, or take a quick trip to the gym.

What moves do you make to stay healthy in college? Let us know in the comments below!

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Fall Fashion For Fellas – The Hoodie

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You remember the moment you laid eyes on as if it were yesterday. You had just received your acceptance letter in the mail, concluding one of the most anxious two to six weeks in your young existence. Elated and beaming with pride, your mother drove you to the college bookstore, furnished you with her credit card, and told you to “pick a few things out”. Alongside the baseball cap with the school’s initials embroidered in Old English and the overpriced binders with the official university seal on the front, you chose this item as well, thus beginning one of your most valuable relationships. To your classmates and teachers it was a just hooded sweatshirt but to you, it was a dauntless declaration of your upcoming future. Once you made it to campus, you were rarely seen without it. You wore it when you assisted in tearing down the goalpost after the “upset of the century”. It was on your back the night you first snuck into the campus bar. It kept you warm as you rode on the back of a wagon at your first sorority hayride. While you relished in its casual side, the effortless way it complemented your jeans and sneakers, you also found it had a fashionable side as well on the day you paired it with an oxford, rep tie and chinos. Through years of dinnertime pizza runs to the student union, tailgates and autumns watching the leaves cascade in the quad, it was a utility player in your wardrobe; always ready for service in a moment’s notice. As you now live your business casual life, listening to Vampire Weekend in your cubicle while daydreaming about a short time that was so long ago, you can’t help but wonder; which girlfriend’s dorm room did you leave it in.

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Making Smart Money Decisions

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It’s a well known fact that college students aren’t usually the most financially stable people around. Tuition is expensive and time is short for working full time. Put those two together and you’ve got a recipe for a ramen noodle budget. There are some things you can do to make sure you’re making the best financial decisions for yourself no matter how strapped for cash you may be.

1. Document expenses
Keep track of everything you spend money on, no matter how small the cost may seem. For example, if you spend $3 on coffee every week day, that adds up to $780 per year. Make sure you account for even the smallest expenses or you could come up short in your budget. Which brings me to my next point:

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2. Make a budget
And stick to it. That second part is the hardest but also the most important. Making a plan for your spending and accounting for every dollar is the best way to stay on top of your financing.

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3. Use loans and credit sparingly
Borrow the very minimum amount that you’ll need for school even though you may be offered a higher amount. Talk to your financial aid advisor when you receive your award letter to ask for a smaller amount. Only borrow what you need. Similarly, only use credit cards when you are sure you can pay off the balance at the end of the month. No one wants to graduate with a load of debt.

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How Technology is Changing Entertainment

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When we were kids, watching television programs and movies was less user friendly than it is today. There were too many steps involved. You had to physically go to Blockbuster, or your nearest rental store, to rent a new movie only to find it unavailable because too many people had already taken it out. If you wanted to view a movie on Pay-Per-View, you had to wait for the movie time to be available in order to call and order it. This seems absurd nowadays due to how easy it has become to watch whatever you want, when you want.

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As technology progresses, the internet becomes more than just a place to do research. It becomes a domain for apps, games, movies, books and so much more. We have just merely scratched the surface on the potential of the digital world. The revolutionary movie streaming programs, such as Netflix and Hulu, offer instant gratification for whatever mood you’re in.

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What can attest for the future of digital programming? With the way technology is evolving these days, it would seem that everything will go digital; making DVDs, video game discs, and even paper books obsolete. There’s no way of telling what’s going to happen to these companies that supply us with our entertainment needs today; either they’re doomed or they’re going to embrace the digital age and evolve with it. Only time will tell.

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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.

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Tips to Keep Organized at School

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1. Get a wall calendar.

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You can find a wall calendar with anything you can think of!  Get one to go with your décor, of your favorite animal, or of your favorite TV show… the possibilities are endless!  Once you put up your wall calendar, mark down all the important things: exams, breaks, paper and assignment due dates, advising appointments, career fairs, etc.  This will help you keep track of everything you have going on each month in an orderly and easy way!

2. Pick up some baskets/desk organizers.

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You can use baskets anywhere: on top of your dresser, on shelves, on your nightstand, under your bed, etc.  Use them to organize your school supplies, electronics, chargers, toiletries, hairbrushes and accessories, jewelry, and anything else you’re not sure where to store!  Desk organizers are great for storing pens, pencils, markers, scissors, and other desk essentials!

3. Get a whiteboard and put your upcoming assignments/to do list on it.

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This is a great way to keep track of your weekly assignments, chores, and errands.  Hang it somewhere in your room that you will see it all the time! You can color code by categories for added organization.  And check off things as you get them done, it’s really satisfying to see your list get smaller and smaller!

4. Set alarms/calendar alerts on your phone for important events and appointments.

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If a new event or appointment comes up, put it into your phone’s calendar and set an alert/alarm for it to make sure you don’t forget.  The little reminder can really come in handy and save the day when you’re out and about!  This is a great tool if you make an appointment when you’re not home and can’t immediately write in on your wall calendar or white board.

5. Get a lanyard and/or key chain for your student ID, keys, and other essential cards.

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Keeping your ID and keys in the same place will make things so much easier for you day to day.  You can keep them in your bag or around your neck when you leave so you don’t have to worry about losing or misplacing these very important items.  Eventually you’ll get in the habit of grabbing for your lanyard/keychain and it will become second nature; goodbye to the days of getting locked out of your room or apartment!

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Domination of the Nomination

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We have seen the word “nominate” a lot recently on social media. Between dumping ice on our heads to harmlessly posting three things you are positive about today, Facebook and other social media sites have become tools to do good.

            I don’t know about anyone else, but I was personally terrified of getting the notification that would inform me that I had been nominated to pour freezing water on myself. I don’t know if I should say this online (for fear someone out there might actually nominate me) but thankfully, I was never nominated. But, should I be thankful I wasn’t nominated?

            We have all been warned about the dangers that social media holds. People use social media to bully others in ways that didn’t exist, let alone happen, in our parents’ generation. “Be careful what you say online.” “Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see.”  “Treat others online the way you want to be treated online.” Social media seems like a scary place with all these warnings.

            But recently, these social media initiatives have taken advantage of the global platform of sites like Facebook and Twitter to try and make the world a better place. We are now doing things like raising awareness for diseases that require research, and greatly improving the proceeds that go to this research. We are creating initiatives that require people to be thankful for what they have and put them in a better mood for the day. We are nominating people to go out and do some random act of kindness they wouldn’t otherwise do. And then, we publicize this to the world, showing the good we, as a global community, can do.

            So, as thankful as I am to not have been doused in ice water, I am excited that our global platforms, that can sometimes cause a lot of harm, can also do a lot of good.

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5 Healthy Studying Tips

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Studying is probably one of the least exciting tasks in college. But it doesn’t have to be as bad as it seems when you apply these 5 healthy studying tips. These habits can not only help produce higher grades, but can have you understanding the information better. This is a viable trait for applying this knowledge to real world situations.

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1. Take Notes of All Important Aspects in Each Class

The basis of healthy studying starts with what you do in the classroom. In-depth notes will cover all materials that were discussed in class. This will help produce a more well-rounded understanding of the topic at hand. This could get intense so be wary of writer’s cramp.

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2. Make Your Voice Heard in the Classroom

Involving yourself in the material, whether that be open discussion or simply asking questions, gets you to fully engage with the subject at hand. This clears up any confusion you may have before you start studying and provides you with more comprehensive knowledge of the topic.

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3. Use the Textbook

Professors usually do not follow the book word for word. They combine different elements of similar topics that your textbook may highlight. In most cases, the textbook is used a guide or companion to the lesson. But don’t ignore the textbook. It is recommended you purchase it for a reason. Many key concepts from class will be mentioned in the text, even if the examples given are different.

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4. Stay Organized

Nothing is worse for an upcoming exam than notebooks full of different information from a whole array of subjects. You have enough stress; managing your notes and information at the last minute shouldn’t be one of them. Use a notebook, laptop or tablet and section off subjects. If you use a binder or folders, make sure to keep papers together by subject and date only.

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5. Do Not Procrastinate

The worst thing is to study for an exam the day before. Not only will you be scrambling to memorize concepts and formulas, but you may not be able to retain it all. The best possible way to memorize notes and other work would be to study a few hours each week until the exam arrives. Less stress, more sleep, and peace of mind on test day will be one of the benefits of this method.

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