Author: Cassidy Obis

From Dorm Life to Your First Apartment

Moving into my first apartment was such an exciting experience. I’ve lived on my own in the dorms for the past two years, but am now fully independent without anyone looking after me (like residential hall staff). Shopping for my apartment was in some ways similar and some ways different than shopping for a dorm room.

first apartment

First off, I had to buy kitchen supplies. I would recommend buying a cheap dinnerware set.  It’s college,  items are bound to get broken or lost, so I really didn’t find it necessary to invest in a super nice set of dishes. As far as cups go, I just bought a cheap set of four glasses to add to my collection of free cups I’ve gotten from campus events. Silverware is super cheap; I bought mine for $1 per set of four. When it comes to pots and pans, stick to the bare minimum. All you will need is two to three of each to get by. When shopping for these items don’t forget that thrift stores and yard sales will often be your best friend!

Luckily, I had a lot of items for my bedroom from the past two years, but I did have to go out and buy new bedding (I now have a full-sized bed as opposed to a twin extra -long). I bought a complete bed-in-a-bag set from Walmart for about $40.

As far as some general items go, I would highly recommend bringing cleaning supplies when you first move in. My apartment looked as if it had barely been cleaned prior to move in day, so a nice scrub of the place isn’t a bad idea. It’s also definitely a good idea to communicate with your roommates and see who can contribute what. Depending on how many people are in your apartment, there’s no need to have multiple dining sets. Sharing is fine and splitting the cost is even better! It’s a good idea to sit down and make a list of what you have and what you need for your home away from home. It’s tempting to buy lots of fancy new stuff, but the reality is that it’s just not necessary.

What are some items you’ve either been glad you bought or that you found you didn’t actually need?

5 Ways to #BeatTheBoredom

flag football

We all know the same daily routine can become very boring. Once school starts, it’s easy to fall into a “class, study, sleep, repeat” routine. It’s important to remember to try to break up your routine, especially if you’re reading those boring textbooks from eCampus.com, or else you’ll just burn yourself out. Here’s my quick list of five ways to #BeatTheBoredom this semester:

1. Join an Intramural Team.
This is a fun way for you and your friends to do something active together. It doesn’t have to be a sport you’re all superstars at; many schools offer leagues for softball, basketball or dodgeball, plus a whole lot more! Intramural teams are also a great way to meet new people if you’re new to campus or just looking for some new faces.

2. Get a Job.
Although working may not be what you want to do in your time off school, working a part-time job allows you to earn yourself spending money. I’ve also found that having a job and going to school forces me to have better time management.

3. Make a Workout Routine.
Of course this is great for your health, but it’s also a great way to de-stress. Did awful on your test? Go for a run at the Rec Center, and I guarantee you’ll feel better after. You can also get your friends in to make working out more fun.

4. Go Greek.
I personally do not belong to any Greek organization, but I know plenty of people who do and they love it! Joining a sorority or fraternity definitely introduces you to new people. There are also service fraternities or sororities, as well as ones related to different majors. Attending weekly chapter meetings and different events is an easy way to break up your routine. Find out if Greek Life is right for you.

5. Join an Organization.
I joined a registered student organization (RSO) my first year at ISU. I am a member of my school’s PRSSA chapter, and I absolutely love it! I’m exposed to so many professional opportunities that I wouldn’t get in a classroom. There are numerous student organizations that exist that relate to majors. I know there are also many fun ones at my school like the Quidditch Club or Hot Sauce Club. I guarantee there is at least one RSO that relates to your interests. It’s just a matter of deciding what you want to do!

 

Have any other suggestions for beating the boredom? Please share!

Win $500 When You #beattheboredom!

Have you heard about eCampus.com’s Beat The Boredom photo contest? Any student that enters a photo of them “beating the boredom” with their textbook box is eligible to win one of seven $25 Visa gift cards, and one lucky student will receive the grand prize of $500 to spend however they want!

What would I do with an extra $500?! I could easily spend it all in one day. It’s actually sad thinking about how I’d have no problem spending it all in a matter of hours. I’d probably first treat myself to a spa day. I’d get myself a manicure, pedicure, facial and massage. Then, with the money I’d have left over, I would go to the mall and easily spend the rest on clothes, shoes and accessories. Or I would use the $500 towards an iPad (I’ve been really wanting one)?! If that didn’t happen, maybe I’d buy myself a camera. There’s a million things I would do with $500!

What should I do with an extra $500? That’s a whole different story. I should put it towards my monthly rent payment. Or I should put it into my savings to use for future school expenses. But that’s the difference between would and should.

What would you do with an extra $500? Submit your photo in the contest and you could be the lucky winner! Better start thinking about what you would do with some extra money. In the meantime, here is a little motivation to help get your creative juices flowing. This robot box is anything but boring!

 BotBox

My Weekend Getaway: Easy. Fast. Cheap!

This month my roommates and I went on a last-minute overnight trip for the Fourth of July. The best part? I spent less than $50 for the entire thing (hotel, travel, food and fun)! One of my roommates received an email on July 3 from a travel site (think Travelocity, Expedia, etc.) saying that there were still rooms available in select cities for the fourth. We decided on St. Louis since it was only a few hours for us to drive, and we booked a room for just under $100. We stocked up on cheap snack food and we were on our way!road trip

 

As annoying as they can be, emails from these kinds of websites can let you know about great deals or sales they have going on that you wouldn’t know about otherwise. In this case, we were able to celebrate the holiday in a really fun way without spending more than we can afford. I decided to make myself an email account that is strictly for “junk” mail that I give to stores or restaurants when I have to provide one. Although I don’t check it everyday, I do check it at least once or twice a week to see if there’s anything good going on, but this way I can keep my actual email’s inbox clean without missing out on great promotions.

 

Living on my own this summer has taught me the importance of saving my money. Like most college students, I’m always on the lookout for ways I can cut costs, but that doesn’t mean we can’t treat ourselves to a weekend getaway. Whether it’s a weekend excursion to see an away game for your college, or a spring break trip to the beach, we just have to be smart about planning and use the resources available to us! If you are planning a trip that requires a flight, be sure to check out this travel site that offers cheap airfare just for students.

What ideas do you have for affordable weekend trips? We would love to hear!

 

Staying Active in the Summer

running

I’ll be the first to admit that I absolutely hate working out. I used to play softball in high school, so workouts were a part of my daily routine but now, you couldn’t pay me to run a couple miles. However, I know the importance of staying active, especially at a young age. I always tell myself that I want to be able to do things with my kids and be able to move around when I’m older. During the summer I find it easier to be active without making those dreadful trips to the gym.

One of my favorite things to do during the summer is go for long walks, especially at night. It’s a relaxing way to de-stress and gives me time to think. Forest preserves or nature sanctuaries are great to go walk around. Do a little research online and you can probably find one near your campus. I also love to swim! I seriously love being in the water, and swimming is such a great workout that works most of your body. Hitting up the pool on a hot day and swimming some laps is a great way to exercise without even realizing you’re burning calories.

Although it’s not for me, I know many people love summertime because it means running/jogging outdoors. I find treadmills to be absolutely boring, but the nice weather means a scenic route for your run.

One thing I try to be especially good about during the summer is eating right. There are so many fresh fruits and vegetables available in the summer so I make it a goal to eat them with every meal.

A great app that I use to track what I eat is called MyFitnessPal. It allows you to enter in what you eat and tracks the calories for your day! It also breaks down your diet into categories like fats and proteins so you know what you’re eating too much or too little of.

These are some of the ways I try to stay in-shape during the summer. What are some of the things you do?