Consider a “Staycation” This Summer

staycation

Summer is officially here and vacations are on everyone’s mind. Whether it’s a friend or a neighbor, I’m sure you know someone planning an elaborate vacation this season. But is a big vacation to Florida or the Bahamas out of your reach? No worries! Here’s why you should love “staycations”.

Give Your Wallet a Break

It’s no secret; vacations are very expensive. The cost of hotels, gas, dinning out, and any activities adds up very quickly. American Express estimates the average per person cost of a vacation is $1,145! If you’re particularly tight for cash, like most college students are, it can put a damper on your vacation. Easily avoid those costs by deciding to take a staycation! You already pay rent, so why pay even more to sleep in a strange bed? You can also cook meals at home during your staycation or only go out to eat once or twice – instead of every night. The main thing your money goes to during a staycation is activities. You can do more extravagant things with the money you save from not traveling.

Reduce Your Stress

Planning a vacation can become very stressful. Getting your friends or family on the same page with where you want to go/how much you want to spend is always a hassle. Not to mention, traveling is stressful as well. Rushing to get to the airport so you don’t miss your flight and rushing to be gone by checkout at the end of your stay add unneeded stress. Instead, you can make your own schedule during your “staycation”. There’s also no need to rush because you’re already where you need to be – now it’s time to just relax. As a college student, trust me when I say you need less stress.

Enjoy the Comfort of Your Own Home

There’s nothing more unsettling than having to sleep in a strange bed – and potentially having to worry about it being dirty or even having bed bugs. With a “staycation”, you and your family/friends can sleep in your own comfy beds. You can relax on your own couch and cook in your own, familiar kitchen. You also don’t have to worry about forgetting anything because you already have everything you need. There’s no better feeling than not having to wake up to a screeching alarm, in your own bed, knowing you can do whatever you want today.

Benefits to the Local Economy

This is the biggest positive of a staycation – giving back to your town. Especially during tough times, it’s very important to support local businesses. Instead of traveling to Florida and eating at chain restaurants – find interesting restaurants you haven’t tried in your town. Plan a day to go to the local museum or you city’s theatre. Supporting your local economy benefits everyone, making your town a more pleasant to live.

So, next time you’re stuck on where to spend your summer break, consider a “staycation”! It’s cheaper, less stressful and you get to sleep in your own bed!

The Story of Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man

I absolutely love movies with behind the scenes special features. One of my favorite things is watching what goes into making a full length film. When I learned Spider-Man was not going to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it set off my spidey senses. What behind the scenes tomfoolery could cause the absence of such a beloved character?

The answer is a story as convoluted and odd as you’d probably guess. It finally culminates with the return of Spider-Man to the MCU this summer in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Marvel, Bankruptcy, and Spider-Man

Way back in the 90’s, there was a massive comic book boom due to inflating comic book values. People began to realize the rarity of old comics from the 40s and 50s, especially first editions. DC and Marvel both capitalized on this, printing millions of new comics and making collector’s editions as much as possible. Characters married each other left and right, superman died, it was a crazy time. It didn’t take long for people to realize the market was saturated.

The comic book boom ended shortly after and Marvel quickly encountered trouble. They were up to their eyeballs in debt from overprinting and underselling comics. The crash eventually caused Marvel to declare bankruptcy. As a result, the company desperately sold off movie rights to a number of characters. The rights to both Spider-Man and the X-Men properties passed though a number of companies, finally settling in the hands of Sony.

Sony’s Tragic Mismanagement

Sony handed the property rights to Sam Raimi after a number of failed attempts to bring Spider-Man to the big screen. Sam Raimi reimagined the web slinger in “Spider-Man”, directing both sequels in the series. The first two movies were massive hits! The third was a flop, both critically and commercially. Regardless, Sony allowed Raimi to move forward with a fourth movie slated for a 2011 release date. Unfortunately, Sony canceled the project due to creative differences.

Spider-Man underwent a reboot from Sony with the movie “The Amazing Spider-Man”. It became a cinematic hit and the studio decided to produce a sequel. However, this was the 5th Spider-Man movie in 10 years. Audiences became tired of the superhero, and having two reboots in 5 years is a tad confusing for the general public. The series ultimately ended before producing “The Amazing Spider-Man 3”.

The Return to Marvel

Possibly the only good thing to come out of the 2014 Sony email leaks was news about Spider-Man was returning to Marvel. Disney and Sony reached an agreement to allow the wall crawler to return to the big screen under the Marvel umbrella. However, the odds are stacked against Spider-Man Homecoming. As the third reboot in 15 years, audiences could have Spider-Man fatigue. For fans of the superhero, here’s to hoping that Spider-Man: Homecoming rises above the tangled web of past disputes and turns out to be a great film!

5 Things I Learned Being a Commuter

My decision to commute as a college student was not easy. There were some pros – like not having to pay for housing; but there were also many cons- like not getting the “full college experience.” I remember thinking I would be the only one in my group of friends who didn’t go away for college. Three years later, I now realize I made the right decision. Along the way, I learned a few things which made being a commuter easier. Here they are:

The Best Time for Class

Traffic is always a hassle for commuters. Students who dorm enjoy the luxury of rolling out of bed and walking to class. If you are a commuter, it’s important to account for the possibility of traffic by waking up and leaving extra early. If you take morning classes, you must leave extremely early or you run the risk of getting stuck in the morning rush hour. On the contrary, if you take evening classes, you’re subject to the late afternoon rush hour. I’ve learned late morning and early afternoon classes are the best for commuters to register for. Yes, it’s in the middle of your day, but most of the time it’s worth avoiding heavy traffic. If your main goal is to avoid rush hour, ideally schedule your classes from 10AM – 2PM.

The Most Convenient Coffee Places

It’s practically a fact; college students live off of caffeine. You never know when you’ll need a little pick-me-up! That’s why it’s necessary to know where all the most accessible coffee stops are along your commute. It’s also vital they aren’t too far off your route or you risk adding more time to your commute and the possibility of traffic building up.

How to Efficiently Use Gas

The greatest downside to commuting is definitely having to pay for gas. Along with gas, potentially putting serious mileage on your car is another negative. The best way to save on gas and keep the miles down is staying on campus between classes. Even if you have a few hours before your next class, don’t travel all the way home and then all the way back. Use the time to get some work done at the library or go hang out with friends. You’ll quickly see staying a few extra hours on campus is worth it.

How to Make the Best/Easiest Schedule

With my senior year approaching this fall, I feel I have mastered schedule making. As a commuter, it’s ideal to be on campus as few days as possible. If you’re going to be successful with this strategy, you really must make those days count. Try scheduling more than one class per day. It’s easier to be on campus two days a week, taking a few classes each day, than being on campus 5 days a week while taking one class a day. You’ll save on both gas and time.

How to Use Your Time in the Car Wisely

You spend a lot of time in the car as a commuter. This may seem like wasted time, but there are several ways to efficiently use this time. Buying books on tape is one of those ways. You can buy whatever you like – fiction, nonfiction, educational or biographical – and listening to it while in the car increases your knowledge and keeps you thinking. Another great option is recording lectures (as long as it’s okayed by the professor) and listening to them on your way home. It’s a great way to pick up on things you missed the first time around. Reviewing lectures in the car is also a great study tool.

No one said commuting life was easy, but with things I learned from experience you can save on gas, make the perfect schedule and optimize your time in the car.

 

Balancing a Part Time Job on Campus

We all like making a little money on the side, but balancing a part time job and schoolwork is tough. Even for the best students, scheduling around classes and work shifts is a challenge. When academics get rough, oftentimes a job becomes a nightmare. But never fear! I’m here to give you some advice on how to manage your academics and your part time job at the same time.

Scheduling Your Time

Schedule everything! Make sure to use Google calendar as much as possible, scheduling everything from your workouts to your study times. By scheduling when you study, work out, and take breaks, you can prevent wasting time. Budgeting lets you know where your money is going. Scheduling lets you know where your time is going. By scheduling your time, you will stop having those days where it feels like you’re scrambling to get everything done. Below is an example of my Google calendar for a day earlier this year.

Balancing a Part Time Job

An example of my weekly calendar

Talking With Your Boss

Your boss is a person too, and they probably also had to juggle a million and one things in college. They get it, I promise. If you’re having an especially bad week, talk with your boss and ask if she can cut some of your shifts. If she can, she probably will. Employers know an unhappy employee is often a bad employee. If you feel uncomfortable about speaking to your manager, consider brushing up on your workplace communication skills starting with this article from Forbes. Should talking to your boss fail, you may be able to swap shifts with a fellow employee. Worst case scenario, they say no. Why not ask them before resigning yourself to a week of torture?

Balancing a Part Time Job

Treat Your Part Time Job Like a Class

Treat your job like any other class, in every possible sense. Don’t skip your job. Try to schedule your shifts the same way you would a class. Ask your manager if you can work at a consistent time every week. If possible, try to block it in with all your other classes. For instance, most of my shifts as a tour guide were right after my classes. I could get all my structured responsibilities out of the way early, and then have the afternoon to work out or do homework. By treating your job like a class, you’ll develop better professional habits and use your time more efficiently.

Do you have any tips on how to manage a job during the school year? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Benefits of Attending a Small University

Small Univeristy

Unlike most of my friends I graduated high school with, I go to a very small university. It’s a place people never hear about, and until I went searching for my perfect educational match, I hadn’t either. There are times I feel looked down on, as if my degree won’t be worth as much as ones given out by well-known universities. Luckily, I have come to realize my degree will be worth just as much – that I’m receiving a quality education at my “no one’s-ever-heard-of” college. There are various benefits of attending a small university. Before you overlook a small university, here are a few benefits to consider:

Personal Classes

Every professor knows my name within a couple weeks of the semester starting. That’s because we have small classes with a 30 student maximum.  At bigger universities, attendees sit in a lecture hall with over 50 students for three hours a day and are never called by their name. Smaller classes are beneficial, especially for learners like me who prefer group discussions over hours of straight lecturing. Getting to know your professors in a more personal setting also makes it easier to approach them with any questions or concerns about the course. Nothing’s more awkward than asking a question half way through the semester and the professor asking, “And what’s your name again?”

Strong Advising System

You will quickly get to know your academic advisor. Similar to the attention you receive from professors, they will actually know your name and agenda instead of referring to you as “another science major”. You won’t have to go into every meeting and repeat your situation for the hundredth time. They remember who you are! This is extremely beneficial and will help with your academic planning.  Also, I’m continuously getting emails from my advisor throughout the semester. They frequently check up on you, making sure you’re doing well. It all adds to the more personal aspect.

Getting Involved is Easier

Joining teams or clubs at larger universities can be very intimidating. At smaller colleges, it’s significantly easier because there aren’t as many people in a club. Once you’re a member of a smaller club, you’ll find everyone’s contributions are ultimately more meaningful. Everyone becomes an important part of the team because there are less people to fill positions and work on projects. In addition, student groups are easier to reach out to and they provide quicker responses. At a small university, you won’t feel like an outsider peering in.

Lower Tuition

Last, but certainly not least, is the lower cost of tuition. Large universities could potentially charge over 40 grand per year! Smaller schools are typically less than 20 grand per year.  Attending a smaller school gives students the potential to have less student loan debt – if you’re lucky you may not even have any- and still receive a quality education. Lower tuition rates also makes receiving a higher education more financially obtainable. If you’re career requires a masters or doctorate, you may want to begin your journey at a smaller school.

The next time someone has never heard of your school or is surprised it’s so small, don’t be discouraged! There are many advantages to smaller classes and club sizes. Regardless of size or notoriety, it’s always best to attend a school that meets all your needs, both educationally and financially.