Fun for Less

The Brighter Side of Winter

every day I'm shovellin'

If you don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that this winter has been particularly harsh thus far. So if your plans have been ruined and your classes have been cancelled—AGAIN—here are a few ways to stay sane while you are cooped up indoors waiting for the blizzard to pass.

  1. Don’t feel bad about cancelling plans.

This one is important. If you made plans with someone before a snowstorm, don’t feel bad about changing or postponing said plans. Remember, your safety comes first. If you must drive in this weather, be sure the roads are safe and make a list so you can get as much done in one trip as you can.

 igloo

If something were to happen when you were out getting milk and bread, be prepared to build an igloo for safety in the case of an accident. This basic skill could save your life and even if there was no accident, practicing in the backyard could lead to hours of worthwhile fun.

  1. Learn a new skill

Between Pinterest and StumbleUpon, it’s easy to find something new to learn. Maybe you’ve always wanted to crochet a scarf. Or play the harmonica.

ice fishing

You could even learn how to go ice fishing, I hear Eskimo’s do this a lot in their free time why not try it out and see what the rave is all about.                                                                                   

  1. Catch up on homework

Okay so this one isn’t actually enjoyable but hey, it needs to be done. If you’re an assignment or two behind, now is a good time to catch up.

sockssocks

If your fireplace is running low on wood, you could always use that homework assignment your professor gave you last week. Staying warm or doing homework? I think we know the answer.

  1. Skype your family

Your parents are probably worried about you, as parents often are, because of the severe weather. Take some time to let them know you’re okay and while you’re at it, let them know what you’ve been up to lately.

faceplant

Like how you’ve become a famous YouTube star from sledding down a hill on your campus, then flying up 15 feet in the air and planting your face into the snow.  The Today Show has already contacted you about a guest appearance – mishaps in the snow aren’t so bad.

  1. Hang out with your friends

Just because you’re staying in doesn’t mean you have to be alone! Call up some friends in town or around campus and have some fun.

 undie

You could have a movie night, play some board games or participate in a philanthropy event! Every year, my campus hosts an undie run, you show up and donate your clothing to a homeless shelter. Then you get to run across campus in your undies, doing good and having fun all in one!

 

Trading Traditional for a Tablet

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With the popularity of all-in-one electronics on the rise, college students all over the country have been taking advantage of new computers for their school work. One observation I’ve made while in college is that a lot of students use tablets for their classes rather than laptops. As a man without a tablet, this is very surprising. I always thought of tablets as just tiny, slow computers, or big smart phones, but I’ve actually seen some really creative and useful ways that my classmates are using them this past year. Here’s just a small list of some of the things I’ve seen done.

Note taking: While many students prefer to write down their notes, using a tablet to take notes in class IS a handy way to save paper, and keep your notes looking clean and understandable.

Easy Organization: Many tablets come with, or can download, many organizational apps. These range anywhere from calendars, to help coordinate college students’ very hectic lifestyles, to just keeping track of all your notes and files. Tablets can act as a great way to organize all your notes and class work. Just remember to have backup memory!

Reading: This isn’t necessarily college-related, but tablets are a very quickly growing way to allow anyone to read an entire library worth of books without taking up all the space!

Online textbooks: Many schools and companies are now making their textbooks available for purchase in digital copies. I personally prefer renting a hard copy textbook, but if you don’t want to deal with damage, or if it’d just be easier to have all your information on your tablet, the digital copy seems like it’d be a major convenience.

Whatever you can think of! I had a class this semester where a student used his tablet during a presentation. He had specific sentences recorded on it, and when he’d reach certain points in the presentation, the tablet would interject with arguments that he would quickly dismiss. A tablet IS a type of computer, so if you’re able to find an app for it, or if you have the imagination for it, there are almost limitless capabilities for how to use it!

I’m not saying that you absolutely NEED a tablet in college, after all, I’ve been doing just fine without one! However, there are times that I wish I had one because it’d make my life a whole lot easier. Having to carry around a million textbooks, and not fully knowing the bus schedule because I don’t have a bus app can be quite a pain, so you be the judge as to whether you’d want one or not! What kind of tablets are you all using for your classes?

Win a Free Trip from eCampus.com!

Home for the Holidays Contest Final Version (3)

Everyone’s favorite season has finally arrived! It’s the time of year when ice skating downtown with friends every weekend is the norm, drinking hot chocolate and eating sweet treats daily is acceptable, and heading home to spend time with family and friends is what every college student looks forward to the most. I, like most students, love being away at school for the majority of the semester. However, as soon as Mariah Carey Christmas carols hit the radio and bells start ringing for The Salvation Army outside of the local grocery store, my anticipation to get home for the holidays begins.

Although we all look forward to heading home for the holidays, we at eCampus.com understand that for some, it can be difficult to get there. No one should have to spend their holiday in a deserted college town for lack of traveling expenses. Now, with our help, hopefully no one will have to! We are proud to announce our Home for the Holidays contest. We are celebrating the season of giving by paying for one student to travel home for the holidays. One lucky winner will receive a $300 check to spend on travel expenses this holiday season. Whether by plane, train or automobile, we want to send you home for the holidays!

To enter, simply answer the question “What do you love most about going home for the holidays?” through our Facebook or Twitter page. For Twitter, tweet your answer to @ecampusdotcom using #homefortheholidays. For Facebook, visit the eCampus.com Facebook page and click on the Home for the Holidays link at the top of the page.

For those of you who will be traveling on your own dime this holiday season, don’t forget to check out Orbitz.com for top travel deals.

Good luck and happy holidays from the eCampus.com team!

Am I Successful Yet?

The keys of success

Many students look forward to college being a time to have fun, get a degree and pave the way to a successful future. However, nowadays becoming successful after college is more difficult than it was for our parents’ generation. The “glory days” of college now seem to be filled with stress, self-doubt and an overwhelming sense of impending failure. Okay maybe impending failure is a bit dramatic, but you get my point. Our generation no longer has to just get a degree to be successful. We are required to have leadership experience, thousands of volunteer hours and tons of internships before graduation. The truth is, college is an amazing, and hectic, time in life. As students, we just have to learn how to build our resumes while having fun.

None of us know what we want to be when we grow up: Most students are unsure of what they want to do with their lives until they actually get some real world experience. So go join a club or attend an internship fair with a friend. These are great ways to get out of your dorm room and have some fun, while also seeking out potential career paths that may interest you. They will also give you something to put on a resume, while learning about future job possibilities outside of a classroom environment.

No one’s life is as easy (or awesome) as it seems on social media: While here, I’ve noticed a common pattern among students at my university. People love to share every detail of their lives on social media just so EVERYONE knows how awesome their life is (whether it’s actually that great or not). So, rather than obsessing over how cool your classmate’s awesome weekend of volunteering looks on Instagram, go out and make some fun, and resume worthy, memories of your own!

Just relax: It has been drilled in our heads since birth that being successful means having the most, doing the most and sleeping the least. But let’s be honest, college is a very short time in our life that we should really learn to appreciate. College is a great time for self-exploration, and learning, so get out there and learn! Don’t stress yourself out about having the most impressive resume at your University. Instead, figure out what you like and get involved with causes and organizations that help foster your interests. If you take the time to check out new clubs and meet new people, your resume will eventually build itself.

The best advice I can give to anyone in college is to forget your future. Do the best you can right now. Do and try everything you can. If you do this, I promise your future will be brighter than you can imagine. If you have any other suggestions or advice to give, don’t be afraid to tell us!

Must See Movies During Thanksgiving Break

hunger-games-catching-fire-poster-usaWith the holiday season quickly approaching and Thanksgiving break right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to check out the latest Hollywood hits. Time off of school provides the perfect opportunity to go watch those must see movies you’ve been dying to see, but just haven’t had time.Here’s my list of the three best movies to check out while on Thanksgiving break.      

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire- November 22

This is the second movie in the Hunger Games trilogy. I HIGHLY recommend watching the first one if you haven’t seen it. I also recommend reading the books on your time off of school. The series has a fascinating storyline, set in the future post-apocalyptic nation Panem in North America. The country is divided into different districts, all under the political control of the Capitol. The Capitol established the Hunger Games as a way to remind the citizens of the districts of the Dark Days (75 years before the events in the books/movies).

Catching Fire starts with Katniss Everdeen  (Jennifer Lawrence)’s return after winning the 74th annual Hunger Games. President Snow is unhappy with Katniss and fellow winner Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) for breaking the rules, allowing both of them to win. The 75th Hunger Games mark what is known as the Quarter Quell, with a special set of rules. This year’s participants are selected from previous Hunger Game winners.

I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read the books, but this story and competition is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Katniss once again outwits the Capitol, causing President Snow to become even angrier with her.

Delivery Man- November 22

Delivery Man is Vince Vaughn’s latest flick, so it’s sure to keep you laughing throughout the whole movie. Vaughn stars at David Wozniak, a man who just found out he has fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. He is faced with the decision of whether or not to reveal his identity when 142 file a lawsuit for him to do so.

What’s interesting about this movie is that it’s actually a remake of Director Ken Scott’s 2011 French Canadian film, Starbuck. “Starbuck” is the sperm donor alias that Vaughn’s character went by.

Homefront- November 29

Homefront stars Jason Statham and James Franco in this action thriller written by Sylvester Stallone (Rocky). Statham plays a former DEA agent who moves to a small town with his daughter to get away from everything. An incident occurs on the playground at school where another student bullies her. Obviously trained by her father, the girl physically retaliates and knocks the kid down. His parents show up at the school, furious about what the girl did to their son. His father (James Franco), who goes by “Gator,” begins to taunt the family.

He snoops around in their house when they’re not home and discovers Statham’s character was an undercover DEA agent. This upsets him even more because he is the leader of a meth-production gang in town.

The rest of the film looks like it’ll live up to true Stallone and Statham action. Lots of fighting, guns and threats. What else could you want?

While these three films are obviously not the only ones coming out during this time, they’re ones that I definitely plan on going to see. What must see movies are you looking forward to this holiday season?