Author: Carson Eggers

Keeping Up With Life Outside of College

For some students, moving several hours away from home to attend college is necessary to pursue a quality education. Going to a new place and meeting new people is wonderful, but what about all the family and friends you left behind? Their life still continues while you’re away. At some point during your college career, you will be faced with the choice of either going to class or going to some kind of special event such as a wedding or baby shower. Here are some tips for how to balance your life at school with your life away from school.

Weekend Gatherings

Plan Gatherings on Weekends

If possible, try to schedule (or ask others to schedule) special events or gatherings on weekends. Heading home on a day when you don’t have class is much easier than during the week. This is also when most people have time off work, so it should fit better with non-student family and friends as well.

Setting Expectations

Set Realistic Expectations

You are not going to make it to every single one of your cousin’s basketball games. Don’t promise family and friends you will show up to all their events when it is not possible. Be realistic when deciding what events you are going to try to make it home for. Also, make sure your relatives understand you are busy. They may not like the fact you are missing family events, but ultimately they should understand your education is important and must take priority at times.

Calendar

Plan in Advance

If you know about an event at the beginning of the semester, go ahead and start planning for it. Professors are more understanding and flexible when they receive notice far in advance. If you wait until a week before a big test to tell your professor about your sister’s upcoming weeding, it is unlikely he will grant your leave of absence. Communicating your schedule to others in a timely manner helps everyone plan for the future.

Recognizing Importance

Recognize Whats Important

A close friend of mine recently found herself in a tough situation. A funeral service for her family member was scheduled on the same day as a final presentation worth 20% of her final grade. The funeral was in a different state and the presentation could not be rescheduled. It was not possible for her to attend both events. What should you do if you find yourself in this situation?

You need to recognize what is important. My friend made the extremely tough decision to give her presentation rather than go to the funeral. Were some family members and friends upset about her decision? Yes. Was missing the funeral emotionally difficult for her? Yes. However, you have to make these difficult sacrifices. You must decide what is more important to you and your overall life. Missing a special occasion is hard, but it is a necessary part of earning an education.

Balancing school and home life can be difficult when you are in college, but with a little planning you can graduate and still be a part of the family! Have any other tips for balancing life in college? Leave them in the comment section below!

 

Is College the Right Time for a Pet?

Pets are one of the greatest joys in life. There is nothing better then curling up in the evening with your best friend on your lap. For some college students, getting a pet is at the top of their to-do list. However, getting a pet is an important decision and should be carefully considered. Once you own a pet, you are responsible for taking care of another life. College might not be the best time for such a large responsibility. If you are thinking about getting a pet, here are four important things to consider:

Puppies

Housing

You will probably change housing several times during your college years. This creates a risk that some of your living arrangements may not be suitable for pets. Dorms and other campus sponsored housing such as fraternity and sorority houses typically only allow service animals. Most apartments that allow pets require additional fees to cover cleaning costs when you move out. Further, even if the place you live allows pets, your roommates may not be as open to the idea. If you think that you will be living in a place that will not work with pets at some point in your college career, then you should hold off before getting your new furry friend.

Baby Bill the cat

Money

Pets are expensive. There’s really no way around that fact. Living on a college student budget with a pet can be extremely difficult. You need to make sure you have the financial means to care for a pet before you bring one home. The AKC estimates the average cost of owing a dog the first year is $3,085. That’s a steep price to pay on a tight income. Some common pet expenses are:

  • Food and water
  • Treats
  • Cages
  • Beds
  • Toys
  • Vaccinations
  • Spaying/Neutering
  • Flea and tick medication
  • Collars and leashes

This is by no means a complete list of necessary animal supplies, but you will need to provide all of these essentials for your pet. In addition, remember to budget additional funds for unplanned emergencies. It’s not hard to rack up a vet bill totaling several hundreds of dollars, or worse, even thousands.

Cute Doggo

Time

College is extremely time consuming. Attending classes full-time, participating in clubs, and working can leave you with little time to take care of your pet. Before you get a pet, you need to ensure you have the time to set aside for playing with, walking, and caring for your new family member. Animals need plenty of love and attention to be happy. When they are receiving enough exercise or attention, they’ll often channel their displeasure through negative actions. This could mean coming home to chewed up household items or other displays of anxious behavior.

After-College Plans

Moving across the country or taking a gap-year in Europe sounds like a wonderful plan, but it’s difficult to take any animal on such journeys. If your after-college plans include traveling or other large lifestyle changes, you may want to wait until you are settled before buying a pet. Once you’ve established a clear plan and are confident you’ll follow it, properly caring for an animal becomes a more realistic possibility.

Pet

Final Thoughts

When you adopt an animal, you are committing to care for it as a family member for the rest of its life. If you have any concern over your ability to keep and care for an animal, potentially over the course of 10+ years, then you should wait before getting a pet. I know many people who have successfully kept pets as college students, but I also know those who had to give-up their loved one. Make sure you’re fully prepared for such a commitment before you head to the shelter.

Have any tips for caring for an animal in college? Leave them in the comment section below!

Surviving Severe Weather in College

Springtime is once again upon us. Although the warm weather is a welcome change, for many Midwestern states spring also means the return of severe weather. If you live in the Midwest, you were likely taught from a young age where to go in your house should a storm occur. But what about when you’re away at school? Here are a few tips for surviving sever weather at college.

Lightning

Dorms

Most college dorms are well equipped for severe weather. Dorm rooms typically have an alarm system installed with distinctive sounds for both fire and weather related emergencies. Also, much like hotels, you can usually find a map of the building with instructions about where to go if a tornado occurs. If not, ask your resident assistant or building manager where the safe space in the building is and the safest route to get there. A few things to keep in mind when living in dorms:

  • You will occasionally have drills to practice evacuations. Even if you know it is a drill, you need to take the time to follow instructions and practice. Yes, it can be inconvenient when you are studying, but it is necessary to prepare.
  • Always take your room key with you when the alarm goes off. Resident assistants may check rooms to make sure everyone evacuated. If you don’t have your keys, you may find yourself stuck outside if they lock the door behind them.
  • Make sure you know where your roommates are during emergencies. If they are not in the building, text or call them to make sure they know to take cover from the severe weather.

Off-Campus Housing

Preparing for severe weather when living off campus is a little bit harder. It is your own responsibility to monitor the weather and know when it is time to head to the safe space. A great way to keep tabs on the weather is by purchasing a weather radio.NOAA Weather Radio

An NOAA weather radio links to the national weather monitoring systems and sets off an alarm if there is severe weather in your current location. The device plugs into a wall outlet, but in an emergency can run off battery power so that you can take it with you to your safe space. Weather radios are small, useful devices and are available at most all major retailers for about $25-$30. This item is a must if you live in severe weather prone areas.

A few other things to keep in mind when living off campus:

  • Ask your building manager or landlord where the safe space for your apartment is at. If there is not a designated space, follow these guidelines for taking shelter.
  • If you have to leave your apartment to get to your safe space, be sure to lock the door behind you. Take your key and wallet with you in case you need them.
  • Your neighbors may not be as prepared as you during a severe weather emergency. If it is safe to do so, check on your neighbors to make sure they are aware of the severe weather threat and help them get to the safe space as well.

During Class

Severe weather can hit during any time of the day. You may occasionally find yourself in class when an emergency occurs. Like dorms, college academic buildings are usually very well equipped with alarms and labeled safe spaces. Your professor should know exactly where to go during an emergency so listen carefully for instructions and follow them promptly.

NOTE: Do not leave the group unless your instructor gives you permission. Most colleges require instructors to take attendance as a way to keep track of students during emergencies. If you are present for attendance and then split from the group during an emergency, your professor will be unable to locate you and could cause an unnecessary manhunt.

On the long list of things to prepare for in college, severe weather is one of the most important. However, it is also one of the most overlooked. With a little preparation you can be ready for any emergency. For more information about severe weather preparedness check out The National Weather Service’s website.

Professional Fashion: The Importance of Wearing a Wrist Watch

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. We have all heard this saying at some time in our college career. Students are taught from day one about the importance of wearing appropriate, professional attire in the workplace. Collared shirts, modest hemlines, and neutral colors are all staples of a professional wardrobe, but there is one important piece that students tend to overlook: a wrist watch.

Wrist Watch

Why You Should Wear a Wrist Watch

Most young-adults don’t bother to wear a watch because they can check the time on their smartphone. Although smartphones are a great resource to have, there are still many benefits to wearing a watch.

  • Professional – When you are in a meeting or out with a client it is extremely unprofessional to check your phone. You may only be checking the time, but others in the area will assume that you are looking at a text and get the impression that you are not focused on the work at hand. Having a watch allows you to check the time while still maintaining a professional appearance.
  • Positive Signal – When employers are in an interview they look for certain signals that indicate the applicant will be a good fit for the company. One important signal that interviewers look for is a watch. Having a watch indicates to employers that you are conscious of the time and have good time management skills. Some employers have even admitted that if an applicant shows up to an interview without a watch they are immediately eliminated.
  • Fashion Statement – A modern, stylish watch can be the perfect finishing touch to an outfit. Wearing a watch will give you a put-together look that employers and clients appreciate.

Where to Get a Wrist Watch

Despite popular belief, you don’t have to break the bank to get a good watch. Almost all the major retailers such as Walmart and Target sell simple, stylish watches for a modest price. The mall is also a great place to look. Small accessory stores always have a great supply of modern watches and some offer coupons and other promotions to help with the price. With a little searching you can find a beautiful watch for under ten dollars.

Wearing a watch is a great way to look professional and impress employers. Have any other professional dress tips? Leave them in the comments section below!

Spring Semester Preparation Guide

Winter break is almost at a conclusion which means its time to start getting ready for spring semester classes. There is a lot to get done before school starts again, but you don’t need to get overwhelmed. Here is a preparation guide to use as you prepare to go back to school.

School Preparation

Preparation Guide | School Preparation

  • Enroll for classes
  • Check financial aid status to make sure scholarships and loans are accounted for
  • Order textbooks – check out Knetbooks for great deals on textbook rentals
  • Print the syllabus for each class if available online
  • File away notes and assignments from last semesters classes
  • Clean trash out of backpack
  • Purchase new notebooks and pencils if necessary
  • Print a class schedule with room assignments to have for reference during the first week
  • Walk to class locations the day before classes start if you are unfamiliar with the campus or buildings
  • Purchase agenda and fill in with necessary information such as university breaks and final exam dates

Living Arrangements (If Different from Fall)

Preparation Guide | Living Arrangements

  • Get key to apartment or dorm room
  • Pay any move in fees (first months rent, security deposit, etc.)
  • Unpack and decorate room
  • Purchase food and other essentials
  • Confirm meal plan if necessary
  • Get parking pass if necessary

Other Considerations

Preparation Guide | Other Considerations

  • Change the oil in you vehicle
  • Dentist, doctors, and other necessary checkups that can be hard to schedule around classes
  • Purchase plane ticket if you fly to college
  • Talk to boss about getting a work schedule that fits with your class schedule

There are a lot of things to consider and prepare for when going back to school. Hopefully this spring semester preparation guide will help you get prepared for an amazing semester. Do you know of any other tasks that need to be completed before school starts? Leave them in the comment section below!

Surviving the Snow: How to Overcome Winter Weather

As a college student, one of the things I dread most each year is winter. Walking across campus in below freezing temperatures trying to avoid ice patches is not enjoyable. With finals right around the corner it is more important than ever to get to class, but the cold and snow can make walking to class a nightmare. Perseverance is key. Here are some tips for staying warm and overcoming winter weather.

1. Stay Bundled Up

winter weather - bundle up

The easiest way to beat the cold is to stay bundled up. Coats, hats, scarves, and gloves are your best friends this time of year. Yes it can be a bit of a hassle to carry all of this around once you are indoors, but it will always be worth it when a surprise snowfall hits during your class. Dollar stores have a huge selection of gloves, hats, and scarves that don’t cost much money so if you do accidentally lose something during the day you don’t have to worry.

2. Wear Waterproof Shoes

winter weather - waterproof shoes

Keeping your feet warm is essential. Its hard to walk to class when you can’t feel your toes. Wearing waterproof shoes will keep the cold water from melted snow from reaching your feet. Rain boots are always great to have when dealing with winter weather.

3. Carry a Spare Pair of Socks

winter weather - spare pair socks

We all know the quote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Even if you are wearing waterproof shoes water will still occasionally find a way in. Maybe a car went by too fast or you stepped in a puddle that was deeper than it looked. Either way, your feet are wet and cold. Having a spare pair of dry socks in your bag to change into will help you keep your feet from freezing!

4. Bring a Warm Drink

winter weather - warm drink

Nothing beats winter weather like a mug of hot chocolate. Get a travel mug and fill it with your favorite warm drink. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are all perfect for this time of year. Not only do you get the benefit of a warm drink to perk you up, but the heat from the mug can help keep your hands warm as well!

Surviving the cold can be a challenge, but with a little preparation you will be able to stay warm all winter long. If you have any more winter weather tips leave them in the comment section below!