Author: Wonderbread

Apartment Hunting: Part Two

Looking for an apartment can be an overwhelming experience if you’re doing it for the first time.  Earlier this week I shared some of the pitfalls to watch for while searching and here are just a few more…

Furnished or Unfurnished?

Are you moving out for the summer only to go back to a cramped dorm over the school year?  Consider getting a furnished apartment.  Just stocking a kitchen can add up very quickly even if you buy the cheapest things you can find.  To make matters worse you will have to throw or give away most of the items when you move back into the dorms.  Storing whisks, pans, potholders, colanders, knives, plates, silverware, measuring cups/spoons, food storage containers…. You get the idea, it adds up!

 

Your Landlord and You

Above all, get everything in writing!  Landlords can be very tricky, so assume the worst and hope for the best!  I once rented an apartment from what seemed like a very nice old woman but when move-out time came around, she became very stingy about giving our security deposit back, even insisting that we pay to have a rug cleaned that was stained from the day we moved in!  What was obviously a cheap $5 pan she got at a garage sale became a $50 top-of-the line frying pan on our itemized security deposit list.  In other words, take pictures of the apartment beforehand, and both you and the landlord should sign off and date the photos.  Your landlord might give you a hard time, but don’t fall for the act.  Seriously, be tough and stand your ground!  It can mean the difference between getting your deposit back and not—hopefully it never comes to that, but watch an episode or two of People’s Court and you will have an idea of some of the ridiculous things both landlords and tenants try to do to save money.  Landlords are trying to protect themselves from you with the lease.  Do your part to protect yourself.

A landlord can make or break your rental experience over the summer.  Imagine that your toilet keeps backing up but your landlord doesn’t get back to you for a couple of days after each phone call—when they finally do respond it’s with some drain-o and a toilet snake! (and not maintenance man).  Or you get a water leak and your things get damaged.  A conscientious landlord will respond quickly—a bad one won’t care at all about your damaged stuff.  It’s not their responsibility to pay for it after all!

 

Other Ways to Save Money

Hulu plus accounts and Netflix have saved my roommates and I a lot of money in cable costs recently.  I’ve found that if I get the lowest cable plan I don’t get the channels I want anyway.   So you wind up paying $70 for T.V. a month.  That’s over a week’s worth of groceries or 2.5 tanks of gas!

Happy hunting!

-WonderBread

I’m reading Code of Ethics for Nurses With Interpretive Statements

Apartment Hunting: Part One

Looking for an apartment can be an overwhelming experience if you’re doing it for the first time.  Here’s how to start and the pitfalls to watch out for!

Location

You open the classified and see an apartment for an amazing price.  The only problem?  The area of town is not the greatest, and it’s a high crime area.  I’ve had friends make this mistake and they had break-ins and items stolen.  Plus, they had to sacrifice peace of mind.  As a young adult, our schedules are conducive to late nights out–right when crime levels reach their peak.  If you absolutely cannot swing an apartment in a safe area, check out this website to find out where your neighborhood ranks in the area: http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/neighborhoods/crime-rates/

With gas prices as high as they are, another factor to consider is how far away all your basic stops are: your job, grocery stores, your best buds.  A good rule of thumb is to get those three things within a 25-mile radius if possible.  The last thing you need on an intern’s salary is to be driving all the way across town daily!

 

Utilities

Utilities will cost much more than you think. You’ll have to ask exactly what it includes. Be sure to ask about: heat, water, cable, electricity, internet, sewage, trash, gas, security, maintenance, telephone, and then ask if there is anything else (so you don’t get trapped in hidden fees).

As a rule of thumb, “all utilities included” means water, gas, and/or electric (but double check with your landlords). Usually, it doesn’t mean cable, telephone, and internet are included, but sometimes the apartment complex will add them. Just be sure to ask.

If you can make it happen, sharing Internet is something I have done in apartments I’ve rented in the past.  One person has a router, gives the other tenants the password and then we all use that wireless and share the bill.  This can be risky for whoever has the router, but if everyone can give a good amount up-front, the benefits far outweigh the risk.

-WonderBread

I’m reading Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies

A Note Taking Upgrade for Macs

Having a powerful note-taking device at your fingertips can save a lot of time and angst.  Microsoft’s OneNote is a great option for Windows users, but most Mac users on my campus were using some variation of Microsoft Word, a solution I found unsatisfying.  In case you are unfamiliar with it, I’m talking about the “Notes” format in Word, which looks like this:

note-taking-one-note

As the semester wore on, the doc got clunky, taking a long time to load and save and I found myself still juggling multiple docs between classes.  A much better alternative is Growly Notes, a powerful application that gives an incredible amount of freedom when taking notes.  Unlike Word, which confines the user to strict formatting, Growly is the equivalent of a white board.  Notes can be as structured or as scattered as you want, which is really convenient if you’re writing an essay and get inspiration for a different part than you’re writing.  Just jot it down in a text block to the side instead of having a hanging thread at the bottom of a doc, or worse, in a separate “notes” doc altogether.

Every class can have its own color, and different stages of drafts can each have their own “page” under a single heading.  My favorite feature of Growly (aside from the fact that its free) is that it has a “floating window” feature that snaps to the front of whatever application you’re currently using (for me, usually a web browser).  Say you’re studying for a final and find helpful notes on–line, you can copy and paste notes onto the floating window rather than going from browser to doc, doc to browser.  It saves a ton of time and frustration.  The floating notes are automatically saved under a separate tab.  If you are still using Word, this app is a huge upgrade and well worth the time to learn to navigate, though you will mostly find its use intuitive.

note-taking-growly

 Happy note taking! Any comments? Leave them below.

 

The Other March Madness

As the semester comes to a close it inevitably gets harder to hunker down and hit the books.  The weather is gorgeous and the spring fever is tangible.  In one day, I saw 3 girls doing P90x from a laptop, a girl cutting a guy’s hair while he wore a trashbag over him like a teepee, and guys frolicking in grass playing frisbee, all out in the lawn outside my dorm in the space of about thirty minutes.  When studying while people are literally frolicking 100 feet from your window becomes unbearable, try these tips.

String up a hammock.  Back home in south Texas, everyone has a porch swing and a hammock (a little “tex” and a little “mex” I suppose).  Something about the motion and a tall glass of water with lemon in it feels like an instant vacation.  Eno hammocks are a little on the pricy side but they last and are super portable.  http://hammockcompany.com/detail.php?id=ENO-DD002

Just looking at a hammock makes me feel more relaxed, happy, and recharged.  You get all the benefits of the outdoors with none of the sun’s rays.  Prop up a book and you can be in the action but still get work done!

Do some easy cardio with a book.  High-intensity workouts may be good for burning calories, but some time on the elliptical at a moderate pace, one that still allows you to read, can bring some relief when you’re feeling cooped up with the books.  Finding time for exercise and studying can be challenging when you’re trying to have a life, too, so knocking them both out at once every now and then feels great.  It may sound like a hassle (and I definitely wouldn’t bring my stats homework) but when you get out you will feel doubly accomplished, and that’s a feeling that can get you through the toughest day.

Take a study break with a friend you don’t see very often.  Call that person up you’ve been meaning to get to know better (I feel like we all have one of those) and invite them to get a frappaccino and plop down under a tree.  Aside from the usual fun of getting to know a new person, the added benefit is if you’ve been dealing with the same stresses for a while (i.e., job, school, break up), your usual group of friends has heard it all before.

Spring can be a blessing and a curse, when you can’t go out and enjoy it, but balance your time right and keep that brain refreshed and you’ll be out there in no time!

-Wonderbread

Are Unpaid Internships Ethical?

It’s an employer’s market out there but is there any excuse for employers getting free labor from interns?

Interns have great ideas.

Sure, they might not be able to pull a project together by themselves and they’ll make gaffes in meetings that will make Joe Biden look like a suave speaker, but they’re eager and they’re fresh.  Employers are definitely doing interns a favor by showing them the ropes, but employees who have been plugging away at the same job for a while can definitely benefit from an intern with new ideas.

Interns will do anything you want.

Remember when you were little and your parents made you do dumb stuff for them?  I remember my dad would ask me to get the remote for him because he was too lazy to get up.  My sister and I were also the resident dishwashers, dusters, footmen, butlers, and when we got older, lawnmowers.  Like kids, interns are like personal slaves, in a good way.  They take the load off the more experienced employees so that the big dogs can get important stuff done.  Increased productivity?  That’s worth a few bucks an hour.

Interns are poor.

A lot of kids in college these days are living life on credit with a hope that it will pay off one day.  Asking anyone else to work for free would be ludicrous, not to mention illegal.  Employers are allowed to do it under very specific criteria, criteria that aren’t widely known to the students who work for them.  Here’s the low-down on unpaid internship restrictions.  They must be:

• A “work experience;”

• A training activity;

• On-the-job training; or

• A “work experience” or training activity coupled with supportive services.

Most of us think “work experience” and think that covers just about all internships, but the specifications are much narrower than that.  In fact, the employer must provide a structured training program for the program to qualify for “unpaid” status.  If you’re getting coffee and filing (and not much else), be aware that your hiring company may be violating labor regulations.  As if that wasn’t scary enough (interns aren’t exactly in a place to complain) those entry-level job positions you’ll be looking for post graduation are being worked by unpaid interns.

One-quarter to one-half of all internships are unpaid.  Ironically (or perhaps expectedly), many of those interns are working for the United States government, who are exempt from the above guidelines.  To me, that seems patently unfair.  Do you agree or disagree?  Sound off in the comments!

-Wonderbread

I’m reading Introduction Chemistry

Automate Good Decision Making

A habit for a college student can mean the difference between passing and failing, literally.  Studies show that 45% of our daily activities are at some level automated–the neural connections are short-circuited to make the activity easy.  That’s why it doesn’t take much thought to get through your morning routine, or your workout, or decide what you’re going to eat for lunch.  I wrote a post recently on killing the procrastination beast, but if you’re stuck in a rut, here’s how to trick your brain into short circuiting the activities you want, rather than that pesky habit of turning on the T.V. every time you walk into a room or automatically checking your email every 5 minutes.

Step 1: You need a fix.  Whether it’s a snack, the urge to flip on the TV, to check your email, something is pulling you and your eyeballs away from what you need to be doing.  Write down everything that’s going on at that moment.  What time is it?  Did you just transition (such as walking into a new room)?  How do you feel?  Are you bored?  Anxious? Tired? Restless?  One of these is your trigger, and rather than eliminate that trigger, which is often impossible, transfer the fix onto something else, something that doesn’t derail you.

Step 2: Habit transfer.  When you identify the trigger for the unwanted habit, think carefully about something else that might fill that need.  If it’s a distraction you’re avoiding, substitute a lesser distraction in.  If it’s a snack, maybe what you’re really wanting is an excuse to walk around for a minute.  The science behind this trick is to establish the same craving-reward response with the habit of your choice.

Step 3: Only work on changing one thing at a time.  New Year’s Resolutions, while fun to think about, are notoriously bad motivation because it’s too much.  Way too much, according to author Daniel Pink, a New York Times bestseller who wrote The Power of Happiness: Why We Do What We Do in Business and Life, the source of these tips.  Keep plugging away at the one habit until you get it down, then tackle the next one.  An example of this, according to Pink, is putting your gym shoes by the bed every morning.

If you can automate the habits that help you reach your goals, the decisions you won’t be making will go a long way toward reducing your stress level.  Should I snack, should I wait?  Should I study or watch T.V.?  Should I go to the gym?  Just make it a habit and you’ll have more time for the things that make you happy, whatever that thing may be.  Spending time with your significant other?   Chilling with your friends?  A slimmer you?  Check all of the above!

-WonderBread

I’m reading Behavior Modification: What It Is and How to Do It

Kill The Procrastination Beast

There is nothing quite as self defeating as procrastination.  It’s like eating an entire cake–oh so delicious in the moment but hello regretsville ten minutes later when you switch from sweatpants to skinny jeans.  And the worst part is, when you look back on your time spent procrastinating, you didn’t even get to enjoy it!  Your time was tainted by the stress of what you actually needed to do.  Kill the beast.  Here’s how.

Bookmarks
A beefed-up, well organized bookmarks bar can do wonders to crush procrastination.  One of my favorite websites, Cracked.com catches me  in a loop every time I go there.  I’ll click on link after link, each article more relevant and interesting than the next!  (they’re not of course, but as my procrastination desperation grows, discretion goes out the window).  Make yourself a bookmarks folder that says: interesting articles.  It’s so simple, but has multiple advantages: First, it de-clutters the tabs in your browser.  Im sure I’m not alone when I say that it’s annoying as hell to have tons of tabs open that aren’t remotely related to your current task, but nonetheless have to stay open for future reference.  If need be, make another bookmark folder: school.  That way when you switch from Biology to Chemistry homework, you can close out your tabs and have a clutter-free workspace, without worrying that you’re losing track of your other assignment in the process.

Second, it takes away your ability to rationalize your distraction.  If you can’t say, “Oh, I HAVE to read this now or I’ll forget to read it later,” the procrastination monster shuts up just long enough for you to get back to work.

Incentivize Getting Out of Bed
Getting an early start to the day has been SO critical to my success as a student, but procrastinating the inevitable–getting out of bed–has to be in a top 5 list of hardest habits to break.    My solution is incentivizing the wake up with something awesome.  That something used to be a cigarette when I smoked, but lately it’s a handful of Reese’s pieces or a sugary cappuccino and the great thing is, I just woke up so I’m not really hungry.  I can eat a handful and be satisfied, but now my butt’s out of bed and the hardest part is done!  Even if it takes some time to properly wake up, you can still get relatively easy stuff done that would eat up time later, like responding to emails or reading for a class you enjoy.

There’s an App for That
Stay Focused, an app for Google Chrome, blocks distracting websites for a set amount of time.  I love the blurb on their site :

“You sit down at the computer, and you swear you’ll be productive. Next thing you know, it’s twelve hours later. You’ve checked your email, updated your Facebook status, browsed the trending topics on Twitter, read your RSS feeds, looked up your favorite band on Wikipedia, vanity googled yourself, cyber-stalked your ex, looked at all your high-school crushes’ Facebook photos, watered your plants on Farmville, and lost a week’s pay playing online poker.  The one thing you haven’t done is WORK.”

Besides reminding you how embarrassing your old Farmville habit was (how did I ever justify taking 30 minutes to water my cabbage???) this app serves a dual purpose: it keeps you away from your usual procrastination haunts and trains you to stay focused for extended periods on a given task, a MUST for working in an office later.  Your employer might block Facebook and Twitter, but odds are you have plenty of other procrastination sites that kill your productivity.  Learn now to stay focused and make it easier for yourself down the road.  This app single-handedly cured me of a Facebook addiction that got out of control for a couple of weeks.  Get it for free here.

Now stop reading this blog and get back to work.

-Wonderbread

I’m reading Hamlet

Drugstore Finds to Look Fab on a College Budget

Sometimes, in a burst of feminine energy, I am thrilled to be a young woman with myriad options to improve my appearance: make-up, flat and curling irons, lotions and creams, eyelash curlers and nail polish.

7 AM on a Saturday morning  is usually not one of those times.  It costs a lot to look good–and that’s after you figure out what works.  A regular weeding-out of my bathroom drawers tells the same tale.  I feel guilty throwing out items I’ve spent hard-earned cash on, but if I were not greedy with my counter space, I would be forced to either buy an off-site storage unit or kick out my roommate.  Clearly throwing them out is the only viable option, despite my deep aversion to throwing away dollars,

Fast-forward four years from freshman year and I have learned that generally speaking, paying a fortune on the expensive stuff is an exercise in futility.  Even if I could afford to splurge once or twice on the $40 shampoo, it was unsustainable.  Invariably the next time my shampoo bottle ran low, I was broke and bought some Herbal Essences crap that dried out my hair.

My new spot for trolling for new Beauty products is Allure’s Yearly Top picks, which are generally awesome.  Lots of (expensive) cult classics gained ridiculous popularity after publication on that list, and sometimes you get a fantastic cheapie (like a sangria lip gloss I bought one year) that you find you can’t live without.  Some excellent knock-off notables are available at your drugstore and I’m truly excited to share these, as they have been literally life-changing for me.  Think about rolling out of bed with great hair after always pulling it up into a bun in a rush to class.  Yeah, that falls into life-changing category.

HAIR: If you have naturally gorgeous hair in the morning, you ma’am, are part of the 1%.  I have no more advice for you 🙂

For the rest of us, try Organix Blow – Dry Straight.  Just try it.  The results will speak for themselves.  My hairdresser refused to talk about this stuff and I’m suspicious that it’s because it does exactly what the salon Brazilian treatments do for about 5% of the cost.  The mechanism is the same, it first strips the hair cuticles, then infuses them with keratin—the lack of which causes frizz and breakage.  Just know that it’s more like a two-week result you’re getting, but if you have medium to short length hair you’ll have extra in the bottle to work with.  The best part is, you can play with how straight you want it to be.  You can run the iron over it once or twice and get it stick straight, or just blow it out and have bouncier, smoother hair for a couple of weeks.

Then try Organix Moroccan Hair Oil – The Organix line, in my experience is under-hyped and uncategorically the only truly great value I have come across in a long time.  I literally thought to myself one day as I was driving (with the windows down and the wind whipping through my, by this point, awesome mane of manageable hair) this is he first time in a long time I feel I’ve underpaid for something. Specifically their hair oil will save you upwards of $25 on the original brand and it works beautifully.  When I haven’t used the blow-dry straight product in a while, I toss this into my hair after my shower, sleep on it and it’s soft, wavy, impervious to humidity and pretty.  NICE!

SKIN:  Neutrogena put out a more affordable version of the Clarisonic (Allure award-winner) that in my experience does the exact same thing and works with any old face wash. In my experience, your skin will look brighter and fresher, and ALL of your make-up will come off.

MAKE-UP:  Garnier under-eye roller w/ built-in concealer.  This is a no-brainer that I can’t believe they just now came out with.  All the vitamin-infused caffeine goodness that comes in other eye rollers with concealer already in it.  Boo-yah.  That’s at least 2 minutes off your 5-minute face.

My one splurge?  A good face lotion.  It is MUCH easier (and less expensive) to spend time and money on a product that keeps your face looking great, no breakouts, no redness, irritation and more even skin tone, than it is to try and cover up your beauty sins later with make – up.

-Wonderbread

I’m reading Discovering the Humanities

ADHD and College Students

The abuse of ADHD medications, primarily Ritalin and Adderall, received lots of press when the positive effects on focus were found to be helpful en masse rather than just for acute cases.  Some recent developments in the news have re-sparked the debate, including medication shortages, suspected DEA involvement, and new less abuse-friendly medications.  This blogger thinks it’s beneficial for all college students to know the facts about a drug with a large, persistent presence on campus, one that primarily relies on anecdotal evidence from those with prescriptions.

First, some facts and fiction about ADHD and Adderall.

FACT: Studies show that Adderall helps the heavy majority of the population focus better (it hasn’t been tested on enough people to say with certainty, but random sampling supports this).

FICTION: Adderall has a paradoxically calming effect on actual sufferers.

FACT:  Another, less well-known diagnostic criterion is the inattentive ADHD, the forgetful space cadet who simply avoids tasks that require focusing for any extended length of time.

FICTION:  You can tell who ‘has’ ADHD because they are hyper and disruptive.

What does it mean to ‘be’ ADHD?

First of all, it’s highly controversial how the line is drawn between who ‘is’ and ‘isn’t’ ADHD.  Consider depression, a less controversial diagnosis that has gone through the same cycle ADHD has.  First came stigma.  Is it a ‘real’ disorder?  Is it something genetic or learned?  Should as many people as are medicated, be medicated?  Then came some frightening discoveries:  fluoxentine (better known as Prozac) was leaking into the water stream, causing shrimp to suicidally hang out in well-lit areas where they were more likely to be eaten.   Control groups in Prozac’s studies who weren’t depressed were given Prozac and those groups consistently outperformed groups given placebos at working cooperatively.  Hmmm.  The similarities continue: SSRI’s that treat depression work to restore levels of serotonin in the brain to a ‘normal’ amount.  Too much serotonin is also disordered—someone too happy will be unmotivated to do much of anything, but no one is prescribed drugs to make them less happy.

Similarly, there is a strong link between dopamine and ADHD.  Those with too little, the thrill seekers, have trouble focusing because their brains are looking for a ‘hit’ of dopamine.  Those with too much dopamine will take fewer risks and can sustain attention for long periods of time.  This, like those with too much serotonin, is not considered to be a problem (though the worker-bee might envy the risk takers for their spontaneity).

Unfortunately, directly measuring serotonin and dopamine isn’t possible at this time, leading to a lot of guesswork based on symptoms.  Two points should be emphasized here: one is the continuum (those who ‘are’ or ‘aren’t’ disordered depends on an arbitrary cut-off by professionals who almost never operate under certainty), and the second is the hype that surrounds new drugs on the market, particularly those with no long-term studies.  As more and more research comes out on the drug, hysteria tends to die down.

Of course there is one big hitch in the wagon with ADHD, the effects Adderall bestows on its users are seen as an unfair advantage to those given it without a prescription, but this begs the question: if we all had access to it, would it be an issue?  Which leads to a second, more pertinent question: if so, would we all want to be on it?

In short, I believe the answer is no.  Adderall has many side effects, including dry mouth, insomnia, and emotional instability over long periods of time.  It’s expensive: even with a prescription and insurance, it’s not unheard of to spend $300 a month on filling that script.  Shortages have been another issue lately—some blame the DEA for limiting supply.  The DEA in turn released a statement blaming drug companies for creating artificial shortages to increase value of the drugs.  Long-term effects are disheartening for those with disordered focus patterns.  The body develops a tolerance to Adderall, just like it does all stimulants, like coffee.

ADHD and its drugs have sparked a lot of important debate: is artificial enhancement necessary in a competition-fueled economy?  Is it fair?  Should it be made widely available to everyone?  As newer drugs come out that are less abuse-friendly (Vyvanse was an important development on this front: a molecule was attached to the amphetamine to counteract the ‘hyped’ feeling junkies describe when they snort it), these questions will come front and center to the debate.

No law can prevent you from encountering the drug, in either a legal or illegal manner.  Hopefully with this information, you’ll be just a little more educated about what to do if/when it does.

-Wonderbread

I’m reading Interpersonal Communications: Everyday Encounters

Unorthdox Gigs to Get You Through College and Beyond

College graduates are coming up on an unforgiving economy and a Congress that screams SOCIALISM, WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!! and plays possum every time legislation comes up for safety nets for the young, struggling startups like you and I (a little help, please??).

That's a sweet bridge. Look for large support structures to shield from gusty winter winds.

The facts are—adapt or die.  I mean, not literally.  You could live under a bridge.  My suggestion: think outside of the box when it comes to acquiring skills and experience you’ll need for your career.  Everyone’s waiting tables and applying to the same internships—the right question to be asking is what can you do to stand out?

When I was kicked out of school a few years ago for failing grades my dad said “don’t come home” which was crazy at the time.  I was 18-years-old, had only worked at Chili’s as a hostess and Pitti’s Pizza as a delivery driver.  I wasn’t exactly in high demand, and I owed Princeton a lot of money to come back the next year.  I did what any normal 18-year-old would do and hightailed my butt down to KY to ride racehorses.  I had only had informal experience riding horses but the training was on-the-job and once I broke into the industry I knew I’d be set.  And I was.  I waited tables for a while but wound up riding and training thoroughbreds for three years and at the end of it, here I am back in school but with a wealth of knowledge to bring to my next position (and a fat wallet—I was making upwards of $30/hr, sometimes more).  You get perseverance, dedication, and a good work ethic.  I learned how to deal with problems on my own (no Human Resources on the racetrack)… you get the picture.

You have more options than the typical barista gig, serving job, Abercrombie & Fitch or the elusive office internship.  Furthermore, and this is huge, it will give you a cushion when you leave school, hopefully giving you greater leeway to wait for the right job (as a rule of thumb, a year is the average time it takes to find the right job out of college) while working at a place or learning a trade that has room for growth. Consider also that most of your fellow classmates are waiting tables.  Employers have seen the same old b.s. bullet points under “Server/Bartender at Buddy’s Bar”.  It’s not exciting, it’s vanilla, and it’s too comfortable.  Of college graduates who don’t get jobs, the majority stay at their serving job or barista job.

Job #1 that will get you through college and beyond:

Personal Training: A member of Payscale’s 20 jobs that pay over $20 an hour list.

Let’s break down the job and certification here:

Depending on where you work, you can recruit and manage your own clients, as well as run your own business.   Some gyms allow their personal trainers to ‘freelance.’  The trainer pays a fee to the gym for the use of their equipment and space, but everything else goes directly into the trainer’s pocket.  At other places, you will be paid by the gym to train their clients.  This usually shakes out worse for the trainer per hour but you’re responsible for less bookkeeping (a plus or minus depending on your schedule).

For $400, you can get an ACE certification, plus your exam fee is covered.  In a Mid-Western Town, with only ACE credentials, you can expect:

Average Pay:  $11.72/hr

With more certifications, and certainly in areas where the job is more in demand, the median pay range is  $20.08 – $27.55

I have a few friends who are personal trainers and they adore their jobs.  They meet lots of cool, interesting people and they make changes in people’s lives.

Job #2 that will get you through college and beyond:

Construction:  Two unskilled construction jobs make Payscale’s 20 jobs that pay over $20 an hour.  Ladies, when I type into google ‘female construction worker’ it autofills ‘costumes.’  That’s pretty insulting considering men are not inherently better carpet installers or drywall finishers.  Yet they have a corner on the market.  According to the December 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics Report, construction is coming out of a long industry-wide depression—people are building again!  No degree necessary, you get on-the-job training, which means BOOYAH! your training is paid for by the company.

It’s unorthodox advice, but consider that graduates fresh out of college have a reputation for being undisciplined, not ready for the working world and soft. (adult babies, basically, who need to be potty-trained in the business world).  A consortium held by hiring managers found that the three most important (and lacking!) skills in recent graduates are:  Work Ethic, Teamwork/Collaboration and Oral Communications. All things you can’t help but pick up while doing manual labor jobs (if you don’t want a hammer dropped on your head).   Working in an office isn’t the only place you can pick up skills that make you more valuable to employers, and it beats the heck out of the $7/hr you’ll make at the G A P.

Construction Project Managers make upwards of $100,000 a year and most of them are terrible.  Of all the industries that rely on contract-work, construction ranks worst.  Most of them get paid obscenely well for doing their job at a mediocre level.  Think you can do better?  Start climbing that ladder–get out there and show em!

Job #3 to get you though college and beyond:

Blogging is a great way to make money while you’re attending school but you didn’t think I’d tell you all my secrets, did you?

-Wonderbread

I’m reading Essentials of Biology