Author: Steven Kennedy

Guy Code: 5 Tips to Bargain Shopping

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As a college student with low funds, I am always looking for cheap alternatives when shopping. And as a guy, this becomes really difficult. It seems like there are so many stores and websites for girls to find inexpensive clothes (Forever21 I think?), while guys are stuck paying $30 for a solid colored t-shirt with a special logo on it. So I have done a little research and found some places us dudes can go, because bargain shopping shouldn’t just be for the ladies.

Thrift Shop

Plato’s Closet (or other consignment shops): These stores are great for finding clothes that would normally be sold at high-end retailers. You can find literally anything here, and hopefully it’ll be in your size (although it probably won’t be).

Department Stores: I’d like to be more specific with this one, and say JCPenney, due to the fact that it is my favorite store in the universe. Anyway, department stores have decent selections every season, and about half their items are almost always on sale.

H&M: This store is great for cheap clothing that looks exactly like designer brands. Do I feel embarrassed that the men’s section in the store is one tiny little corner, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if something is for a man or a woman? Absolutely not.

Online: There are a lot of websites dedicated to providing cheap clothing for their consumers. Check out JackThreads or thetiebar.com. I want to mention this because normally, ties, and anything that is associated with a suit, has a ridiculous price tag on it. But at the tie bar, you can find most great ties for under 30 dollars.

Flea Markets/Thrift Shops: You will have to do a lot of digging, but once you find that treasure item it will all be worth it. And thanks to Macklamore,  it is cool to get your clothes at Thrift Shops.

Hopefully this list will help change your mind when you’re preparing to go to a designer brand store to buy a shirt for forty dollars. There are some ridiculous prices out there, but nothing gets more ridiculous than paying out of pocket for a tiny symbol barely noticeable on your clothes. If there are any stores or ideas that I didn’t mention, please help a brother out and comment below!

Making Your College Dorm Room Yours

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With each college residence hall, there’s a certain aspect that makes each and every dorm room feel the same. This aspect happens to be the fact that each dorm room IS exactly the same. Now everyone tries to make their room their own in whatever way they can. However, almost all of these methods consist of shag rugs, posters and funky lights. The painful thing about having a nondescript room to live in is the fact that it won’t feel like a new home. Much in the way that a bird will create its nest out of sticks, dirt and random scraps they’ll find around, you must also create your new home out of scraps that you love and cherish. A large problem with this, however, is that most college students can’t afford to go to a local store and buy unique furniture or decorations for their tiny rooms. However, using these ideas, along with this guide to designing a drool-worthy dorm, your room will be special and memorable in no time!
college dorm room

1. Take the time to visit unique item websites, such as thisiswhyimbroke.com or thinkgeek.com. Many websites exist such as these where you can find almost anything to play with, wear, or use to decorate. You can even find a “Doctor Who” trash can shaped like the Tardis!

2. Wake up a little early every few weekends and take a walk around your neighborhood to find garage sales and flea markets. You can find amazing treasures being sold for very cheap prices! You really never know what you’ll find.

3. Avoid your university’s poster sales at all costs. You might feel special for buying that Jimmy Hendrix water color poster, but I assure you, hundreds of other students will have the exact same one. Obviously, if you absolutely love Jimmy Hendrix, buy it! But I’d recommend trying to find one that truly is special.

4. Try making your own decorations. I literally have no idea what you’d be capable of making, but isn’t that the beauty of it? I would NEVER forget walking into a room covered in origami swans, or plush sock monkeys!

There are an infinite amount of possibilities for what you could turn your room into this year. So instead of going for the classic look, turn your room into the hangout spot for the whole campus! If there are ideas that I left out, don’t limit yourself to these points, just let your mind wander, and decorate!

And if you are moving in to a college dorm for the first time, don’t forget to use our Ultimate Dorm Essentials Checklist.

Fighting the Freshman Flu

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There are several universally accepted facts that apply to colleges all around the world. One that I recently experienced is the unfortunate truth that college dorms are huge breeding grounds for sicknesses. Whether it’s the dirty slob down the hall, or the fact that everyone is cramped into the same tiny space using the same showers, SOMETHING about college dorms spreads illnesses like wildfire.

…not that kind of sick. Last year, my dorm hall was a very old, tiny building meant only for freshmen. Normally, I have a pretty good immune system. However, last year, I was forced to recover from two sinus infections, one case of strep throat, and about seven colds. The problem that I encountered was that if one person on the floor came down with some form of sickness, everyone else was soon to follow. Over the course of the year, I learned a few things to help stave off the impending illnesses of college.

Eat Healthy.
Almost every single day, the dining hall will serve some form of greasy, meaty, occasionally delicious food. I soon learned that if I also made myself a salad, or ate a piece of fruit with each meal, I started feeling better as a whole. Your immune system is programmed to fight off bugs, but if you don’t supply it with the necessary vitamins than it will not function properly.

Good Habbits.
My university’s health services has medicines ready at all times to treat students with sinus infections, as they apparently are a very common occurrence here. The problem is that dorms, especially smaller ones, don’t have very good air circulation. So as the year goes on, dust accumulates in corners and crevices, and it tends to stay around. A great way to keep your sinuses clean and healthy is to start using saline spray. It’s cheap, you can get them anywhere, and they mostly only consist of salt and water. Using a saline spray once a day, or once every other day, cleans out sinuses and keeps them open.

Drink Water.
You’d be amazed by all the positive effects of drinking several cups of water daily. It helps keep you hydrated and it can also help flush out unwanted illnesses. Your body needs it to function, so don’t forget to stay hydrated.

Clean.
For the love of all that is holy, take out the trash.

Hopefully you’ll take some of this advice to heart, and do yourself a favor when the next semester starts up. School is hard enough without the added difficulty of fighting off a cold or the flu. Do you have any health tips I forgot?

Learning a Foreign Language: An Emotional Rollercoaster

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foreign language

My entire life, I always thought that it would be really cool to be able to speak other languages, but I never really wanted to put in the work to learn how to speak them. However, in order to be accepted into my university, I had to take at least two years of a language. So, with this in mind, during high school, I took Latin. My experience with Latin was mostly a terrible one, so I thought I would never take another language. However, I decided to take my chances in enrolling in a foreign language this semester. I enrolled in French, with no experience at all involving the language, and I’d like to explain my experience in the order that all these emotions occurred.

 

Confusion. In a class where absolutely no one has any previous experience with the language, the teacher wanted to get our class used to hearing French. In order to do this, she spoke in French for about 90 percent of the first week. This is, I might remind you, a language I do not speak.

 

Pride. Unlike Latin, with a spoken language, you are actually able to apply your new knowledge to everyday life. In the first week, I learned how to say “I don’t know” and “My name is Steven” and I felt amazing. I could walk around telling people who I was, and everyone was impressed.

 

Fascination. For about a month, French classes rolled by, and I loved learning new things every day.

 

Anger. If you’re going to make rules for verbs, and nouns, and conjugating them, why would there be exceptions?!? Why would they do that to us?!?

 

Acceptance. No matter how hard I tried, I would never be a master of the French language. So I accepted that when our teacher would teach us one word, I’d have to learn two. I’m not so sure about how well I maintained that rule, but it worked decently for the duration of my semester.

 

Happiness. At the end of the semester, we had an oral exam with our teacher, in which she would ask us questions, and we would have to talk to her in French. My happiness came from the fact that I could, indeed, respond to her, and I understood what she was saying….mostly.

 

Overall, I recommend taking a foreign language. It involved a decent amount of work, and definitely isn’t required in all cases, but it was fun, and I now have the ability to explain how many family members I have in a different language. What were your steps of emotions in your language classes?

No Regrets: How to Make the Most out of College

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no regrets in college
With another semester coming to an end I find myself reflecting on the things I wish I would have done differently. Luckily I am not graduating yet so there is still time to make changes. By no means am I an expert, but I want to offer a few recommendations for making the most out of college so you can graduate with no regrets.

Schedule Early Classes. A great thing about course scheduling is that you can make your schedule whatever you want it to be. Most students choose to make their school days begin around noon, or 1pm, so that they can sleep in, and until recently, I looked at it from that perspective too. This semester, the only availability for a class I needed was at 8 in the morning every single day, and to be honest, I couldn’t be happier with it. Sure, getting up that early is still really tough, but its benefits outweigh anything that a 1pm schedule could get me. Waking up early lets you not only get all your work out of the way, it also allows you to explore any interests that would normally just be too time consuming. So if you ever wanted to try kickboxing, rock climbing, or maybe even salsa dancing, do yourself a favor, and actually give yourself the time to do all of that. Which brings me to my next point.

Try out new clubs and hobbies. There are a ton of them out there. Whether they’re related to the outdoors, or volunteer services, or even just fashion clubs, they get you out of your room, and into a crowd of people with similar interests to your own. On top of that, they can help you forget about school stress for a while and can get you into those industries you always wanted to work for or learn about.

Stay Fit. This is a really general statement, I know. But doing anything physical will help in ways you wouldn’t even imagine. Staying fit doesn’t necessarily mean going for long runs every day, or even working out at the gym. Doing anything that keeps your body active works for me, whether it’s playing football, rugby, or going on hiking trips, just make yourself sweat every once in awhile. Not only will it help you live longer, and feel more confident about yourself, staying active also helps you relax and think more clearly.

Take at least one class a semester that interests you. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. As an engineering major, I know that classes that you need to take can get pretty monotonous. But it’s always nice to have a class, any class, even one that doesn’t count towards your credits, that just lets you relax and learn about something that always seemed interesting to you.

Don’t just follow the crowd. I know the college cliche is to overwork yourself on weekdays and party on weekends. I know a decent amount of students in my dorm that follow that as a law, but honestly, making that your entire life is really boring. College is what you make of it, not what people tell you about it. People will tell you that college is a time to try new things, and meet new people, but that does not necessarily mean work and party. Do it your way, not the way of others.

Stay in touch with campus life. I went to a puppy parade last weekend. A puppy parade. That in itself should make you jump on your university’s website to see what’s being held this week. About a week ago, male students had a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, in which men actually walked a mile in high heels. From random things like that to cool community service events, a whole lot goes on around campus, so go check it out, you never know what you might find.

Remember how quickly high school flew by? Well, with more responsibility and opportunities, you can bet that college will come and go even faster. You don’t want to be walking across the stage on graduation day wishing you could do things differently. What advice would you give yourself as a freshman?