College

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.

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!

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.

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.

Late Nights, Early Mornings, Less Sleep

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Between early morning paper writing and late night study sessions, a good night’s sleep often comes as an afterthought to many college students. Before you grab that energy drink or espresso to pull another all-nighter, take the consequences into consideration.

 1. Cognitive and Memory Problems

Don’t let all your studying go to waste by missing out on sleep! Lack of sleep has been linked to memory problems and difficulty with problem solving. These issues can be permanent and brain deterioration can occur if sleep deprivation is long term.

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image source: wisegeek.com

2. Pre-Mature Aging

Those dark under-eye circles you get after pulling an all-nighter are doing more damage than you may think. Human growth hormone, which is responsible for strengthening skin, bones, and muscles, is produced during slow-wave sleep. If you never reach this form of deep sleep, your body has less of a chance to produce this hormone.  Lack of sleep also causes your body to increase production of cortisol: a hormone that breaks down collagen. This causes skin to lose its elasticity.

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image source: healthcaretips.co

2. Weight Gain

Your hormones also get thrown off kilter when you don’t get enough shut-eye. Production of the hunger hormone ghrelin is increased when you get less than six hours of sleep causing you to have a larger appetite than normal.

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image source: healthbeautyou.com

 3. Heart Problems

Lack of sleep has also been linked to several other heart problems such as irregular heartbeat, heart disease, and high blood pressure as well as diabetes and stroke.

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While the occasional late night is sometimes unavoidable, proper time management could help you add on a few more precious minutes (or hours) of sleep. How do you make sure you get a good night’s sleep? Let us know in the comments below!

Sources:

 Feature, Camille. “10 Surprising Effects of Lack of Sleep.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss>.

 Klein, Sarah. “Sleep Deprivation Effects: 8 Scary Side Effects Of Too Little Shut-Eye.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 6 Mar. 2013. Web. 27 Aug. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/scary-sleep-deprivation-effects_n_2807026.html>.

College is WAY Different

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College and high school are almost two different worlds. High school provides you with the tools for acting and behaving appropriately and college is where you put all that you have learned to the test.  One thing that is certain is that mostly all decisions made will be made by you alone. This is part of life as a young adult. But don’t be fearful; family and counselors will be present if extra help is needed.

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You should expect to do more things on your own. Navigating the school, picking classes or even making sure you wake up in time for that early 8 am class will fall on you. Make the most of it because this is the time you prove to yourself and to others that you can handle all the responsibility bestowed upon you.

You will no longer be told what is expected of you. You should already know. As far as assignments go, some professors will only tell you once and it is up to you to write it down and prepare. If you miss an assignment, a high school teacher will most likely let you make it up without penalty (unless you are notorious for always missing assignments). In college, professors treat assignments much differently. You are expected to do the work and understand the material, but the professor may not always check if the work had been completed. Do not think you’re off the hook skipping assignments. The material will most likely be used for a future exam.

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If you miss a day in high school, you can retrieve all the work you missed from your teacher. Professors in college will not tell you what you missed; all the work you missed will have to come from classmates.

If you chose to dorm, you will have to compromise with all the schedules and habits of your roommates. Sharing such small quarters with someone you barely know can come as a challenge. Some roommates may be the exact opposite of what you are used to dealing with back at high school. Make sure you handle conflict with ease and always talk things out.

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!

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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Burning Questions for the Student Pursuing an Advanced Degree

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Grad school is a tapestry of unique students from equally unique areas of life. While you have your students who are fresh out of the undergrad mill, you also have a large amount of older students that have taken a break between degrees. Some students are recently single while others are happily married with children. The one thing that brings us all together is our desire for an advanced degree. While I sat waiting for my most recent grad school orientation to begin, a series of frequently asked questions flashed across the projection screen. For all of the newbies out there, I figured I’d answer some of the most relevant questions here.

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How does a graduate student balance time between work, classwork and research?

            Now is the time to utilize all of the information you surly retained from those time management workshops from freshman year. While some students may have the luxury of only having to worry about their classes, chances are you’ll probably be juggling school with a full time job (which is probably paying your tuition in the first place). In some cases, you may have a family to throw into the fray as well. The good news in all of this is that your job and your class times are already structured for you. Therefore, the smart grad student schedules a few hours a day specifically for studying and research. Make this time a part of your daily routine and it’ll soon become second nature.

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How do graduate students meet people outside their discipline or the university?

            During the orientation icebreaker, I met a handful of students outside of my major. While meeting peers in different disciplines is easy at big events such as this, its a little more difficult to do on your own for one main reason; most grad schools don’t have general education classes that all students must take. Rather, all of your classes are focused on your particular major and you usually tend to end your program with the same cohort of students you started with. If socializing with peers outside of your discipline is of importance to you, pay attention to your campus email as most schools do social events (picnics, holiday parties) geared and open to all grad students. Also, if your institution has a student government that grad students are permitted to join, then become active (if time permits) as this is another prime way to mix it up

Pro tip: Explore study environments outside of your apartment or house. Just because you are working on an advanced degree doesn’t mean you can’t mingle with the undergrads in the school library. All of my reading takes place there, while my writing happens at a local irish pub

I’m a regular Hemingway!

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Some graduate students are overachievers. How do you deal with not being able to over achieve at everything all at once?

            These were the same students in undergrad that just “got it”from day one; they’re frustrating. The main thing to remember is that grad school is not a competition and your degree is not based on how much better than someone else you did. If there are things that you are struggling with, remember that the academic resources that your school offers its undergrads are available to you as well. There is absolutely no shame in meeting a professor during office hours or seeking the help of a tutor. At first I balked at the thought of an undergraduate student helping me at the writing center. That is until I saw my grade on my very next paper elevate after said help.

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Are you able to maintain a social life outside of grad school? Should you? 

            Not only are you able to maintain a social life, its absolutely necessary. If it were not for those nights of cheap beers, chicken fingers and fried mushrooms at the pub behind our school, it is questionable if my school chums and I would have been able to maintain our sanity while working towards our master degrees. Find a few classmates you click with as these students can serve as your study group, drinking buddies and support system when the road gets rough.

Pro Tip: While you may be making a ton of new connections with your intellectual peers, don’t neglect your non school friends. There will be times that you’ll want to talk about anything other than school and these these friends will be more than happy to take you mind off the 45 page qualitative research paper you have due in two weeks.

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.
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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!

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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!