College

What to Take Home Over Spring Break

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Packing Your Bags for Spring Break = Less Finals Stress!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 Ways To Improve Your Dorm Bathroom Experience!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great Classes to Take for EVERY Major

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Looking to fill your elective slots? Or your general requirements? Here are some great and extremely useful courses to take, regardless of your degree, major, minor or concentration:

Intro to Computer Science

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As a journalism major, I was concerned about having to take this class, but it’s actually a really useful skill to have even at an introductory level. Knowing basic coding can help you in any field that might involve you using the internet (which in today’s world, is probably most).

American Government

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Assuming you are living in the US, knowing the basics about how your government works and (theoretically) functions is important for cultural literacy.

Religious Studies

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Specifically something you don’t believe in. Challenge yourself to understand another culture, religion or belief system. Seeing how others view the world can help you define more clearly how you see the world.

Foreign Language

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This can be really useful on a resume and in future jobs. Also helpful if you want to study abroad.

English Literature

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Read some books that you would have never picked up in a million years. Form some opinions about great authors. Make sure you can write a decent essay and argue your thesis coherently. These skills are important and having read some classic or just really good books will help you in life.

Astronomy

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With just a little math, learn about where we are in the universe and all the other incredible things we share space in the universe with. (Ok, as an astronomy minor, I might be slightly biased on this one.. but it’s still a great option!)

How to Make Free Time Productive

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Most of the time when we have free time to ourselves, we tend to use it to binge watch TV shows on Netflix or spend too much time aimlessly surfing the internet. So here are some productive ways to spend your leisure time.

1. Read a Book

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Usually reading is associated with school, but leisure reading is something that can be fun. Find a genre or author that you like and immerse yourself into that world. Make reading something you WANT to do. Need some suggestions to get you started? Create a free account at www.goodreads.com!

2. Exercise

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Not only is exercise necessary for a healthy life, but it also helps you relieve stress and can help you sleep better at night. If traditional exercise does not appeal to you, try a physical activity that interests you. Ask friends to exercise with you and make it fun. Need an app to get you motivated? Download MyFitnessPal for free!

3. Volunteer in your Community

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It is always a good feeling to give back to one’s community. It does not have to be a huge volunteer project, but anything that makes even a small difference matters.  Something small from picking up trash at your local beach to a bigger project like feeding the homeless really does make a difference. Find volunteer opportunities in your area at www.voluntermatch.org.

4. Make a List

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If you have more than one thing to do during your free time, make a list planning out the details.  Be specific about the importance level for each task, along with details about where and when it will be completed. You will feel more productive about your day when you see everything check off the list.

Tips to Stay Organized & Give You a Fresh Start!

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Another semester has started and you want to get a fresh start! Staying organized is the best way to ensure this happens. Here are some great tips to help you out!

1. Date Your Notes. Make sure to write the date at the beginning of each lecture to keep your notes organized. It also makes it a lot easier to find when notes are missing.

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2. Color Code Your Subjects. Color in your schedule and make sure your notebooks match, that way, it’s easy to grab the right notebooks for each class!

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3. Organize Your Computer. Instead of just adding papers and lecture notes to “Documents” create a college folder, with subjects or sub-folders for each semester to keep your hard-drive neat.

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4. Note Q&A’s in Lecture. When a teacher poses a question to the class, write your notes in the form of a question and answer (and highlight the question). It could be the same question appears later on in the semester…

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5. Keep Your Quarters in a Cup. Easy access for when you need to do laundry or need a midnight caffeine booster.

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6. Use a Pencil Pouch. This will keep all your writing utensils in one place, keep you from losing them and save you money on continuing to buy more pens and pencils!

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7. Clear Out Your Pack. Each time you get back to your dorm room, empty your backpack to keep important things like notes and study guides from getting lost in the mess.

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8. Keep Your Toiletries Together. That way you won’t lose anything and won’t pay for anything you already have.

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 9, Create an Inbox Folder. For discussions with professors, so that you don’t lose track of information or for easy reference back to it.

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10. KEEP YOUR ROOM CLEAN. Being organized isn’t helpful if you can’t ever find any of your things to begin with.

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I hope this tips help you get the fresh start you need! Have a great semester!

Your Professor’s Road Map To Success: The Syllabus

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Your TA or Professor will likely hand you a pretty long document on the first day of class, or maybe she’ll email it to you ahead of time. This document is your semester success checklist, and its called “The Syllabus.” Many students skip “syllabus week” (the first week of classes) or figure that they don’t really need to pay attention to the review of the syllabus. But, your teacher is handing you their road map to success this semester. The information you should pay close attention to?

              The Professor’s Contact Information.

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Office hours, a phone number, an email address- the professor is BEGGING you to ask them for help!

Guidelines For The Course.

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What the teacher is expecting from you is written out in (hopefully) plain and simple English. This usually also covers what to do if you get sick and miss and exam or how to handle missing class for a holiday, so keep this safe for future reference.

Exam Dates. 

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Helpful information, to be put on a calendar ASAP! This will ensure you don’t forget until the professor reminds you the class before.

Weekly Readings and Assignments.

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On some syllabi, this section is good to help you keep on track with what you need to be on top of. Think of it as the professor’s planner for you.

It’s really important to read the syllabus at the beginning of the school year so that you know how to conduct yourself for each course during the semester. It’s also important for you to KEEP the syllabus for each course, in readable condition (i.e. not at the bottom of your backpack) throughout the semester. Good luck with starting spring semester!

Road Trip Recipe

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If you have a long enough break, taking a road trip for a few days or even a week can be a great way to spend your time, see friends and experience new and different places! Here’s a few key ingredients to make a successful road trip:
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1. A Car- kind of a must have! Recruit a group of 4 – 5 friends and see if someone has a car. Make sure everyone is willing to chip in for gas. If none of your friends have a car, check out Zipcar and have everyone pitch in for that. If all else fails, bus it!
2. Friends- 3-5 is an ideal number for car fitting and driving rotations. Friends make every trip more fun and exciting!
3. 1 Pillow per Person- Necessary for the mid-drive nap and for the mid-drive fight! Also makes any car more comfortable.
4. Small Front Seat “Carry-On”- For phones, chargers, cameras and snacks. Maybe a book. Not larger than a small drawstring bag for most space and comfort of travel.
5. Sweatshirts- For differences in driver/passengers temperature preferences and for the quick run to the bathroom at the rest stop!
6. A Plan- Don’t just start to drive, know approximately where you are going to and about when you’ll get there (days-wise) in case of emergency, and so that you can research cool things to do once you get to where you are going!
Have fun and be safe!

Tips to Keep Warm During Winter Walks to Class

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Now that we’re in the middle of winter, walking to class can be pretty dreadful. If you go to school in a colder area, you’ll find that frigid temperatures doesn’t equal cancelled classes. Here are some tips on how to stay warm as you brave the winter weather to get to class.

1. Get a pair of thermal underwear.

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Wear thermal leggings or long johns under your jeans, sweatpants, etc. It will make a world of difference when you’re walking to class in frigid temperatures.

2. Pick up some wool socks.
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Invest in some good quality wool socks. Keeping your feet warm is extremely important during the colder months and a good pair of socks helps to ensure a warmer, more comfortable journey.

3. Wear snow boots.
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If you go to school somewhere where snow is likely in the winter, snow boots are essential. They’ll keep your feet warm and dry as you trek through campus. Snow boots are also great for extremely cold temperatures when it’s not snowing!

4. Don’t forget your hat, scarf, or gloves!
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Winter accessories are important and a good coat can only cover so much. Don’t forget to keeps your hands, neck, and head bundled up as well. It’s cold and flu season and the cold weather will only worsen your symptoms if you’re not careful!

5. Invest in a good coat.
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It might be worth it to spend a bit more money to ensure you’re getting a good quality, warm coat. Getting a good coat also means longevity, so you’ll get many years out of it, which is worth the investment!

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!

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!