Author: Crystal Hollibaugh

Beating Winter Break Boredom with Books

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!

Preparing for Graduation: It’s Never Too Early

graduationWhy do we go to college? To get a degree and get a job in a specialized field, right? It sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes the purpose of college tends to be forgotten with all of the friendships students make and events they participate in. College is a social institution where as soon as you get your degree, you are out in the real world. It might seem daunting, but there are ways you can prepare yourself while you are still getting your education.

Take advantage of your school’s career services office and its members. They are there to help you! They can assist with resumes, cover letters and everything you need to get a job once you get your diploma. You don’t have to wait until you are a senior or close to graduating. Work on building your resume and cover letters from the start, and you will be a master by the time you are ready for your first post-college job.

Take advantage of every career fair, even if it is not at your campus. College faculty want you to get a job as soon as you get out. They want you to feel confident in your degree and put it to good use. A lot of universities will hold frequently host job fairs on campus. If yours doesn’t, check out another campus nearby that does! This is a good chance to get your name out there and network. Networking is the key to getting a great position after graduation.

Experience and resume builders are everything. Join societies and clubs dedicated to your field of interest. Seek out internships no matter what education level you are at. The more experience, the better. It stands out to employers that you are dedicated to your field, and are willing to work to make yourself stand out as a prospective employee.


Have any other tips for students anxious about joining the workforce after college? Let us know in the comment section below!

3 Tips for Surviving Boring College Classes

It’s true, there are some boring college classes and it’s hard to pay attention. You could be a writing major in a biology class, or vice versa. You find it hard to pay attention, even more so if it is an afternoon class. You look out the window, think about what you’ll have for dinner, or start to daydream about the guy you met Friday night. While you’re distracted, however, you could be missing important information that will make or break your grade! Use these three simple suggestions to get the most out of your class time.

boring college classes

Take a Snack or Drink with You

Unless your instructor tells you otherwise or you’re in a computer lab and those are the rules, you’re allowed to bring a small snack and a drink with you to class. Have a favorite cereal bar? Pack it in your bag. Also, invest in a thermos or a cup that can keep your liquids cold, like a Tervis. This allows you to keep your mind focused instead of letting thirst and hunger distract you.

Sit in the Front

You’ve heard it a million times, but it is totally true. Studies have shown that people who sit in the front and middle rows of a classroom learn the most because they are more likely to stay focused. Sitting in the back causes too many distractions, and if you are in a big classroom, there is a chance you could sleep or end up people watching. Cut out this extra distraction and aim for the front of the class.

Get Plenty of Sleep

That means avoiding stimulants like caffeine and nicotine late in the day. Also, limit your intake of electronic consumption, meaning limit your television, internet, or gaming time.  Shut everything down, including your body, and get a good night’s rest.

Have any other suggestions for fellow victims of the dreadful boring college classes? Let us know in the comment section below!

Fun Alternatives to College Parties

Fun Alternatives to College Parties

If you watch any television show or movie about college, they always portray it the same way: students go away to school and do nothing but party and drink all day and all night. Although there will be college parties, you don’t have to go to them just to be apart of the college social scene. Here are some tips for keeping yourself busy away from all the partying:

Join or create a club.

Every college campus has several student organizations you can join, or if there aren’t any you like, create one! You’ll be surprised by how much you have in common with people. If you build it, they will come, and the same goes for joining an organization. It looks good on resumes and it keeps you busy. It’s a win-win!

Create a study group.

Here’s a secret: you don’t just have to study with your “study group”! Invite your group over for a movie night, or go out to a restaurant and bond. Going to college is a chance to form lasting friendships with new people. Experience it!

Stay home.

Who says you even have to go out? Stay in and read a book you’ve been meaning to read, or catch up on the latest episodes of your favorite shows. Everyone needs some down time every once in a while. This is the perfect excuse!

Attend campus events.

Although it may seem like everyone but you is going to college parties, this really isn’t the case! You would be surprised how many people like to have fun the good ole fashioned way. Almost every campus has sober events throughout the week you can go to and meet people. Don’t be afraid to go to on campus concerts, free movies or game nights in order to find a social scene with your same interests.

Do these tips help you? Have any others for us? Let us know in the comments below!

Tips to Avoid Sick Days in College

Tips to Avoid Sick Days in College

For our whole lives, our parents have been telling us to eat healthy and to not do things that are bad for our health. However, when you go away to college, you call the shots. You get to do what you want, when you want, and no one can tell you not to (other than your common sense, of course). Although finally being in charge of your own life is exciting, you can’t forget to take care of yourself so that you can stay at your prime. Here are some helpful tips to keep you healthy this year:

Use Your College Gym

Many colleges have their own gym and swimming facilities that are open for student use and are often included in tuition. Even if you’re a commuter student, you can still use the facilities any time you like. Staying active through exercise prevents illness. However, do make sure to wipe down equipment before you use it to ensure you aren’t getting sick germs from another student who used it. You can’t always guarantee the last person that used the equipment was courteous enough to do so. And it sure beats paying for a doctor’s visit!

Get Good Sleep

Some people can function on five or fewer hours of sleep, but that doesn’t make it healthy. Make sure you get at least six hours of sleep each night to keep your immune system at its best (and to keep you at your best throughout the day). I know it’s hard in college when you’re busy, busy but it’s imperative you prioritize your beauty sleep! Going to class and doing homework doesn’t seem so terrible when you’re not sleep deprived!

If You’re Sick, Skip Class

This doesn’t mean if you have a headache or a hangnail you should skip class. However, if you’re running a fever or running to the bathroom a lot, stay home. Your professors and peers will appreciate it and you won’t make how you are feeling any worse by not getting rest. You also don’t want to be the reason other students are getting sick. If you notice someone in class looks sick, avoid them as best as possible. As a side note, always get a doctor’s note when this happens. Many professors will deduct points for absences if you don’t have a written excuse. Read this guide for more tips on college sick days.

Got any other tips for avoiding sickness in college? Let us know in the comment section below!

3 Tips for Handling College Clutter

August is finally here, and with it comes the back-to-school shopping season. This means renting textbooks, shopping for new clothes, and buying other items that will take up space in your dorm room or apartment. Not having room for everything can cause a headache, but there are ways to alleviate that. Here are some quick and easy tips to minimize the college clutter and maximize what little space you are given to live in.

messy room

1. Spring cleaning is not just for the spring. This is the perfect time to go through your clothes and weed out things you never wore, things you will never wear, and things you no longer fit into. Donate the bags to the local consignment shop, and proceed to use that extra drawer space to your liking.

2. Invest in storage for under your bed. Think you do not have enough room? Think again. Several options are available for storage bags and bins,  and the storage you get with them is unbelievable. Stash away those out-of-season clothes or books you want to keep but need to hide to save space.

3. Sell, sell, sell! Have books you needed for a general education class that are just taking up space? Sell them online to get the most bang for your buck. Have junk from when you were a kid that your parents made you take to get them out of their house? Have a yard sale or sell them online. If you cannot see yourself carting it across the country or using it at any point in your life, get rid of it.

Have any other tips for organizing your space? Let us know in the comment section below!

Beat the Heat This Summer

beat the heat

Summer time is here again and we all know what that means: the heat and humidity are here too. Let’s face it, no one likes to be sticky and sweaty during their summer. That is what finals are for! Before you let the heat and humidity get to you, though, try these easy, cost-effective solutions to cool off:

Wear light colors. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it does not just mean light in the color. It means light in weight as well. Linens and cotton are perfect for this kind of weather!

Invest in cooling bands. You have seen athletes from football, tennis, even the summer Olympics with towels draped around their necks trying to cool off. Lowe’s sells an inexpensive towel for $14.98. Just wet the towel down, snap it, and you’re instantly cooled down for two hours until it needs reactivated.

Cut back on electrical use. Flat-screen televisions may look cool, but in reality, they produce a lot of heat that then gets circulated in a room. Go outside and get some fresh air, or if you insist on staying inside, pick up a book.

Cover is crucial. Just like you cover doors and windows in the winter to keep the cold out, cover doors and windows to keep the cool in. That way the A/C air will not go to waste.

Skip on cooking. Notice this says skip on cooking, not eating. Kitchen appliances will create more heat. Go to your local supermarket and get come cold cuts and cheese, or investigate some recipes that do not require the use of appliances.

Have any other quick tips for us? Let us know in the comments section below. Stay cool!