Freshman

Advice for Every Year of College

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It’s officially August! We all know what that means: classes will be starting before we know it. No matter what year of college you’re entering this fall, keep these little tokens of advice in mind.

 move-in

Freshmen: Welcome! I am so excited for you. Even if you loved high school, try not to hang on to it too much. Also, get to know your professors and advisors! They are only there to help and want to see you succeed. Finally, don’t be afraid to try new things. This is the best time!

 study abroad

Sophomores: So you’ve got a year under your belt and you’re not so new around campus anymore. Approach each opportunity with the same enthusiasm that you did as a freshman. Use this year to get a few internships under your belt or study abroad before you have to start taking your upper level classes.

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Juniors: The past two years flew by super fast and the next two will fly just as fast so don’t miss a minute of it. Classes are going to get harder this year and you’ll get incredibly sick of people asking you about grad school. Hang in there.

 college grads

Seniors: Is it senior year already?! Make sure you’re keeping your GPA up even though senioritis is surely kicking in. Make sure your resume is in tip top shape for the job search that is quickly approaching. Some companies will even hire you before you graduate. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk across the stage with a diploma and a job waiting for you?

 What advice would you pass on to incoming students? Share your advice in the comments below!

Back to School Dorm Room Essentials

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Whether you are a freshman moving into the dorms for the first time or an upperclassman who just loves the dorm life, everyone will be moving into a new dorm this fall. That means it’s time to do a little back to school shopping to spruce up your new space! Don’t be fooled though, just because you see a comfy desk chair that would look perfect in your dorm doesn’t mean you should go ahead and buy it. All dorm rooms are different depending on your school and could include different items and different pieces of furniture. In this list, we break down exactly what you should go ahead and splurge on now and what you should wait to purchase until you have more information!

Buy These Now:

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Bedding: While your school will provide the bed and mattress, you will definitely need to bring your own sheets, pillows and blankets. Many dorm beds are extra-long twin sized so be careful when selecting sheet sizes. Extra-long twin is typically represented as Twin XL on the packaging. If you aren’t sure what size the beds are in your particular dorm, check with your school’s Housing Department before purchasing. Girls, go for the funky look with yellow and gray chevron. Guys, you should keep it simple with solid colors.

aquaflops

Shower Supplies: Communal bathrooms are always tricky so you will probably need a bathrobe or shower wrap to avoid any indecent exposure when traveling back and forth to the showers. You will also need a shower tote to keep all your bath products together and make carrying them to the shower easier. Also, shower shoes are a must. Regular flips-flops will do the trick in a pinch but you should check out other options like these AquaFlops. They have a slip-resistant sole and have holes to let the water drain through your shoes.

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Laundry: Most colleges have a laundry room in each dorm for its residents to use so be sure to pick up some laundry detergent and fabric softener. We love Tide Pods because there is no measuring or messy powder to deal with. Just throw in your dirty clothes and toss in a pod for fresh, clean clothes. Don’t forget a cute laundry bag for those times when you go home to have Mom do your laundry! Febreze is another must-have product for those times when you’ve already worn something once but are too lazy to do laundry. Check out all the new scents here.

Pro Tip: You should pick up a pack of Shout Wipes and keep them with you at all times. You will inevitably spill things on yourself and these wipes will prevent you from walking around with a ketchup stain on your shirt all day.

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Cleaning Supplies: Newsflash! Now that you are in college, no one is going to clean up after you. If you want to keep things neat and tidy, it’s up to you. Ditch the traditional cleaning products and pick up plenty of easy-to-use cleaning products so that you can quickly clean up a mess. We recommend Clorox Disinfecting Wipes for cleaning up spills and killing germs at the same time, Windex Glass & Surface Wipes for keeping mirrors and windows squeaky clean and Windex Electronics Wipes for getting Cheetos dust off your laptop keyboard.

textbooks

Textbooks: You should get your textbooks as soon as your professors release their class information. Textbook companies have the largest selection of textbooks in late July with some of the cheapest prices. Getting ahead of the back to school rush ensures that you will get all the textbooks you need at a lower cost. Having your textbooks in hand when you move to campus will give you one less thing to stress about as the semester gets started. Whether you are renting or buying your textbooks this semester or if you are more of an ebook kind of student, check out eCampus.com for the best deals this semester.

Wait To Buy These:

Furniture and Desk Chairs: Many colleges will provide you with all the furniture you need, including a desk, desk chair and dresser. It’s best to wait before making large furniture purchases to see exactly what comes in your dorm room and to see how much extra space you are going to have once you and your roommate move all of your stuff in. You might decide that you actually don’t have room for that leopard print bean bag after all.

Appliances: Before buying a fridge, coffeemaker, microwave, etc. you should check with the Housing Department at your school to see what their rules are on small appliances. Some schools may have restrictions on what type of appliances you can have in your room or there may be a common room in your building that has these items available for everyone to use. If that’s the case you could save money by skipping over these items and just using the community appliances. If you can have a coffeemaker, check out this Mini Keurig. It comes in a ton of fun colors. (We love this yellow one!)

mini-keurig

Decorations & Wall Décor: You will more than likely have a roommate that you will be sharing your new tiny dorm room with, so it may be best to buy decorations after you have had the chance to meet your roommate and get a feel for his/her style. This could also be a great way to bond with your new roommate by shopping for room decorations together. Check out our Awesome Dorm Room board on Pinterest for decoration inspiration!

How Graduation Effects Us, Even if We Aren’t The Ones in Robes

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Graduation is a bittersweet time of year. We know it’s coming all year long. In fact, if you think about it, we know it’s coming for at least 4 years leading up to it. Regardless, it’s still a shock when May rolls around and we have to say goodbye to the seniors—the ones we have looked up to and watched rule the school. Some students are sad—they already miss their friends and they haven’t even walked across the stage yet! Some students aren’t sad, but nervous. If seniors are graduating, that means they’re next; can they really be growing up that fast?

Whether or not the ceremony is filled with joy, or sadness, or just pure anxiety, graduation means different things to different students. It can affect us all- regardless of our year.

Graduation for seniors is about the next step. They are moving on and saying goodbye to their classes, their dorm rooms or school-houses, and hello to a job (hopefully), bills and real life. They are leaving their friends and meal plans and going into the real world to fend for themselves. Will they make it? Are they happy or scared? Are they wondering if they should have invested in the 5-7 year college plan instead of 4? It’s scary and different but can also be a breath of fresh air. Your senior friends can pat themselves on the back. They are walking away with an arsenal of knowledge, a college degree, and hopefully not too many student loans. Either way, they made it and should be incredibly proud. They can throw their cap up high!

 

For juniors, graduation is odd. It means your friends are leaving, you’re getting older, and somehow, someway, you’re next. In the blink of an eye you went from being a new kid on campus and barely making your way from class to class and now you’re just two short semesters away from the stage walk your friends are facing. There has to be a mistake? How would you have missed something as huge as three years of college? Could the old saying be true, and time really does fly when you’re having fun? Or, have you just been so busy working and studying that the last 6 semesters have slipped you by? Breathe. You will make it just fine. This is the last summer before your big year. Enjoy it, relax. When you return in the fall, it’s your time to shine and prepare to ride the rollercoaster of your senior year! It’s filled with emotions, ups and downs, and plenty of “real world” anxiety.

Sophomores are excited by graduation. They think to themselves, and announce of their facebook pages, “Whoo, I’m half way done with my college career”. Little do they know the next two years of their lives are about to pass by even faster than the previous two. Sophomore year was exciting. You finish the year, go home for summer and come back an upperclassman. It’s a strange but exciting feeling.

 

Freshmen might feel just about as weird as the seniors do when graduation rolls around. Didn’t they just graduate? How can it be May already, there is absolutely no way a whole year has past? Freshmen spend the year soaking up all that college has to offer. They study hard, meet new friends, and experience a whole new chapter of life.  When May hits after their first year there really is no other option other than to just reflect and think back on everything you just spent the last 8 months doing. How did you do? Did you like it? Did you make it? How were your grades? Will you ever make it to where those old kids are in their college robes?

No matter what year you’re in, or how far you’ve made it in your college career, there is no denying how fast time flies. You made it through another year and summer is here once again. It’s quite an accomplishment and shouldn’t be taken lightly—even if you aren’t the one in the robes (yet—you’ll get there!).

Now is the time to breathe. Relax. Enjoy your summer, keep working hard—no matter what year you’re in, and stay positive. The 4 years of college are supposed to be fun, challenging, rewarding and exhausting all at the same time. It will fly, so you may not be the one the stage this year, but your time will come. Be prepared!

-Ring Queen
I’m reading Beginning and Intermediate Algebra

10 Benefits of Living Off Campus

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In all of my six years in college (be nice I am working on my third degree) I have never lived in a dorm.  I never saw the appeal of living in the dorms.  I just saw them as small, generally smelly spaces that hundreds of people have slept in prior to me arriving.  So I always chose to live off campus.

Sure there were some drawbacks including parking passes and paying rent, but there were also a lot of perks.  I have my own space, my own room, and my own bathroom.  I had a roommate in my first apartment, but at least I got to choose who they were.  I believe that the biggest perk of living off campus was that it taught me how to be responsibile.  I had to work to pay my rent and bills, so I quickly learned how to multi-task.  This also taught me about the art of money management and budgeting.  Trust me, living in Florida and having your electric shut off in the middle of summer will really teach you to pay your bills on time!  Here are some of the reasons that I think it is better to live off-campus while in college:

Reason #1 – You are in charge of every aspect of your living situation.  If you want to leave dishes in the sink and come home drunk at 3am you can.

Reason #2 – It teaches you economic responsibility.  You are in charge of paying rent, bills and all the other expenses.

Reason #3 – You get to have pets (If your landlord allows it).

Reason #4 – If you need to, or choose to, have roommates you are the one selecting them not a college admission counselor.

Reason #5 – You get your own kitchen and bathroom.

Reason #6 – If you have odd living tendencies (like needing to mop your floors three times a day) then you are free to do it without judgment in your own space.

Reason #7 – You are always accountable, again teaching you even more responsibility.  It is your job to get up and head to class, there is not a friend down the hall who will bang on your door to make sure you are awake.

Reason #8 – FREEDOM! There is no RA overseeing your behavior and there is no need to sign in or out.

Reason #9 – You learn the reality of how much things cost.  Buying dishes, towels, curtains, etc. gets SUPER expensive quickly and it is better to learn that lesson sooner than later.

Reason #10 – You get to have a car that you don’t have to walk a mile to get to.

Can you think of any other benefits of living off campus? Sound off in the comments below!

 

Lovejoy

I’m reading Human Resource Management

Ultimate Freshman Survival Guide

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As freshman year looms ahead, it doesn’t take a fortune teller to guess how you’re feeling right now: excited out of your mind and freaked out of your gourd.  In our opinion, you have good reason to feel that way.  Between classes and keg stands, college virtually guarantees certain challenges.

  • Do you have a plan in place to avoid the freshman 15?
  • Do you know how to prepare and follow through with a limited budget?
  • What if you and your roommate are The Odd Couple when it comes to cleanliness and sleep schedules?  How will you go about peacefully resolving issues?  Address them as they come or lay out ground rules?
  • Are you aware of the major causes of stress in college and how to deal with them?
  • Are you worried about the pressure to make lifelong friends?

If you think about these pitfalls before you get to school we promise your year will be more successful—health-wise, academically and socially.  Click on the cover of our survival guide below to open a super handy PDF file.

 

 

Lovejoy

I’m reading A Writer’s Reference