Monthly Archives: July 2010

Tikiman Tip – Picking the Perfect Class Schedule

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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As August hurriedly rolls around the corner, that can only mean one thing for many people: it’s time to go back to school. For many that means more papers, quizzes, and tests but for others it’s a rallying cry to enjoy more fun parties and social events. So what can you do to make sure that you have the best possible class schedule?

Step 1 : Mix and match class difficulty

Whether you are an ambitious freshman or an ambivalent senior, your schedule of classes will have a great impact on the school year. While it may seem like a good idea at first to take 21 credits with multiple honors classes, chances are in the long run your GPA might make you gag. Instead take it easy, schedule a few tough classesbut also maybe take a couple of classes that sound fun and interesting. It will be easier to rationalize that F in Advanced Thermodynamics if you have an A in Beginners Botany.

Step 2 : Always attend the first day of class

This may seem irrelevant when you are sitting in class during the first day and all the Professor talks about is the syllabus and their attendance policy, but this information is extremely important! When it’s a month before finals and you are slammed with work in one of your classes, it’s great to know that you can skip a class or two in order to catch up on work. Plus, the first day of class will usually give you a good feel for how difficult the class will be and how much work you will need to put in.


Step 3: Try to take classes with friends or people you know

College is full of group projects and paired assignments, so it usually helps to work with compatible people you know and trust. Also if you miss a class or two, you will know right away who to contact in order to get notes or details about an upcoming assignment. Although most people might tell you to NOT take classes with friends for fear of potential distractions, in most case the positives far outweigh the benefits.

Step 4 : Research Professors and their Grading Tendencies
Research. Research. Research. This will especially help if you are attempting to take a class and you can’t decide which section you want. There are national websites such as ratemyprofessor.com that can offer a brief summary of your potential professor, and most often your school will have its own website. A bad professor can have just as much an impact on your grades as difficult material.

College is full of challenges, but these same challenges shouldn’t make you overworked or incredibly stressed. So Relax, take a load off, enjoy some time with Tikiman, and get ready for a great year!

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Browsing the BookShelf

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Every week Tikiman will be browsing the world’s bookshelf to find you interesting articles and entertaining stories to help you get through the school day. Have a suggestion for an article or story? Send an email to Michael.Howard@bookrenter.com and he’ll be happy to place your article on the Bookshelf.

  • Lauren Joffe writes a great article providing tips and tricks on pre-college preparation plans. A must read for every student, no matter if you are a trembling first year or a 5th year senior.
  • Searching to find all the right stuff to bring to college? MD has you covered with a blog post on college dorm room essentials. A good article to read if you aren’t quite sure of what to bring with you when you return to school in the fall.
  • Ahh, the age old question; to have a car or not. It’s a definitely a dream of many college students but is it a luxury or a neccesity? Doug Schantz attempts to determine if a car spells freedom or a financial drain, providing some great insight into the dilemna. As for me? Well, I’ll see you at the finish line.
  • This was simply too good to not share with you. Wendy Rose Gould writes about a couple of students at Brigham Young University who decided to invent a motorized couch. I guess they figured it was easier than simply walking to class. Or maybe they answered that car question we were just talking about?
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Talkin’ with Tiki : Back to School Edition

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Have a question for Tikiman? Send an email to Michael.Howard@bookrenter.com and he’ll be happy to answer your question in the next Talkin’ with Tiki.

David S. from Los Angeles, CA

I’m leaving for school soon and I was curious about when I need to order my textbooks? Do you think I need to have my textbooks on the first day of class?

From my experience, it is not essential to have your textbooks the first day of class. Although in certain classes such as a foreign language, it will definitely be advantageous to bring your books on the first day. However, most professors will usually just go over the syllabus and won’t start teaching real material until the 2nd day of class. Since many students are constantly adding and dropping classes, most professors won’t feel pressure to begin their coursework right away. You should be fine if you order your textbooks within the first couple days of school.

Brenda W. from College Park, MD

What was your first day of college like? I’ll be starting my senior year at Maryland soon and I can still remember my first day of class and how nervous I felt!

Great question, I love thinking about the good ole days. I remember waking up at least an hour before class started, and going over the syllabus at least ten times to make sure I had everything ready to go. I only knew couple of people so I was definitely excited by a little bit dumbstruck about the idea of meeting a ton of people in my classes. Thankfully I’ve learned a bit perfecting my pre-class routine,  so I can  go to class now without having to wake up 90 minutes before it starts!

Kandice Q. from St. Petersburg, FL

What are some tips that help you stay organized in school? It always seems like I’m constantly looking for old papers/tests or struggling to find where I left my biology textbook.

Haha, I know that feeling well. Fortunately, I’ve upgraded my organizational skills and can provide you with some good tips. It’s a great idea to start some sort of filing system in order to keep old tests or notes. It doesn’t matter if that is a drawer in your desk or below the loose floorboard under your bed; just make sure to keep all your files in one place. If you can take your notes on your computer than that is a huge plus, otherwise try and use color coded notebooks in order to keep your notes organized. At the end of the day you need to find the right system that works for you and you alone, don’t try to copy other people’s organizational tactics. The key to being organized is to always know where YOUR stuff is; not leaving a trail of devastation for your roommate to pick up in the morning.

Patrick Q from Detroit, MI

I’m starting school online in the fall and I haven’t taken formal classes in some time. I was hoping that you had some tips on how to start school again without getting  overwhelmed!

Patrick, you shouldn’t worry too much about starting school again; thousands of people do it every year! It’s kind of like riding a bike, you might fall a couple of times in the beginning, but pretty soon you’re riding like the next Tour de France champion. If anything, feed off your nervous energy and use it to motivate you in the first couple weeks of class. Also since you are going to class online, you won’t have to worry about sitting next to the person who hasn’t showered since the last day of school.

Peter P. from Napa Valley, CA

I’m a little confused about how the 5-Star guarantee works, mainly the part about the 3-week no questions asked policy. Does this mean I can return my books for free?

As long as you’re inside that 21 day window, feel free to send your books back. I swap around classes constantly in the first couple of weeks, and I know the feeling of acquiring and return textbooks at the beginning of the year. You shouldn’t have to worry about the cost of your textbook when deciding to drop or add a class, that’s our business to worry about. Happy Renting!

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Tikiman Tips – Back to School All Month Long

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Tikiman will be writing a weekly series providing tips and tricks on starting the school year off right. Every week a new topic will be covered highlighting easy and simple ways to jump to the head of the class or the line at the bar. Have an idea for a topic? Send an e-mail to Michael.Howard@BookRenter.com and he’ll be sure to answer your questions.

How to Move In to your Dorm or Apartment

So you’ve done the trips to Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Target, and you’ve successfully gathered all the stuff you think you’ll need in college. That’s great, but do you have any idea how you are going to move all of that gear into your new dorm or apartment? I didn’t think so. Thankfully, Tikiman is here to share with you some advice and tips on how to smoothly make your dorm room your new home.

Step 1: Bring Help!

Preferably someone strong and willing to haul furniture all day, even if it’s hot outside and the lemonade stand is charging outrageous prices.  But seriously, moving into college for the first time is a special moment, the literal end of an era and the start of a new adventure. Bringing help not only makes it easier to haul up that new TV you just bought, but it’s also someone to share your move-in day memories with.

Step 2: Use those Stairs!

This is a big trick, as long as it’s done correctly. Think about how much quicker you can carry your stuff up to your room when you don’t have to wait in the long elevator line. Of course if your new room is on the top floor of a ten story building, well then, I hope you brought some help! Try to use a lot of boxes or easy to carry packages, that way you won’t have to do a 360 to bring your new mega-toaster up a flight of narrow stairs.

Step 3: Eat breakfast/lunch before moving in

This is more about the negative side effects of not eating, because frankly there is nothing worse than moving in on an empty stomach. Boxes will seem twice as heavy, and you’ll swear that whoever is helping you isn’t picking up their share of the weight. So stop, eat a good meal, and then start game-planning where your new mahogany, I mean imitation wood, bookshelf should go.

Step 4: Learn the art of the meet and greet

It’s not uncommon to know only a few people when starting college and move-in day is a great opportunity to meet other people. Try to say Hi! to everybody you pass by, and always say your name at the end of any conversation. Most people are shy or nervous when first talking to a stranger, and usually they will forget your name during an introduction. Plus, maybe somebody you meet will you help bring up that new queen mattress that you just had to have.

Step 5: Trust the Experts!

Whether you brought your parents along or your RA is barking out recommendations, it would behoove you to listen to their advice. Although you might think it’s cool to loft your bed and put a seating area underneath, it’s not as fun as when your loft fails and that cool couch you just bought is crushed. Chances are your RA has already lived in your dorm, and he/she probably has a few tricks up their sleeve to maximize your set-up.

So there you go, a fool-proof guide to moving in to your spanking new dorm room. But remember, if you only follow one of these steps, then who cares! College is about experimentation and finding out what makes you tick, so if you want to carry up to flat screen TV one-handed, then by all means go for it! But just so you know, most residence buildings don’t offer freshman stupidity insurance.

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17 Smart Ways to Live Cheaper on Campus

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By David Replogle for The Real College Guide

As you head into July, these tips could help you live smart on campus! Guest post provided by TheRealCollegeGuideBlog.com

Living on a shoestring budget? Whether your parents float you funds or you’re pulling a part-time paying gig, here’s how to stre——-tch every precious penny.

Broke — it’s a common catch in student jargon. “OMG, I broke my phone at that rager last night” or “I just broke up with my girlfriend ’cause she was cheating on me with my best bud.” But when used as an adjective, the word describes the financial status of most college kids.

Unless Dad is handing over his preferred platinum card or you strike it rich selling those musty ol’ Pokemon cards, you’ll have to get by on meager means. Here are some painless ways to get major bang for your buck … even if it’s your last buck.

Put the “Eat” in Creativity

Whether you’re craving a change from the monotonous glop of the dining hall, celebrating a friend’s birthday at a nearby bistro or taking a study break to go for a late-night munch, your wallet will take a hit. Cutting back on these extravagances means getting clever.

  1. Buy in bulk When stashing snacks in your room, think long term. Talk to your roommates about pitching in for some grub, then head to the nearest warehouse retail chain to stock up on industrial-sized cheaper-in-the-long-run crates of Ramen packets and other non-perishables. Many discount clubs offer collegiate membership rates, and some give free introductory one-time shopping passes for non-members to bypass the annual fee altogether.
  1. Use the student discount Grocery stores, restaurants and even places on campus usually have discounts for students. Even if you don’t see it advertised, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Have your student ID at all times. It could save 15 percent on that panini or score you a free dessert!
  1. Sniff out free food Complimentary chow is almost as popular on campus as the latest gossip on CollegeACB. “Club meetings and churches are always looking to give out food to potential new members,” says Robby Panos, a University of Virginia junior. Philanthropic bashes and school-sponsored speaker events are also prime time for gratis grubs. Grab a slice of pizza and take in a lecture.
  1. Have a drink on me Students pour beaucoup bucks down the drain when indulging in conveniences like Starbucks and bottled water. Invest in a coffeemaker so you can brew your own, and get yourself a travel mug. Pick up a refillable water bottle too if your college’s tap is tolerable. Bonus: It’s better for the environment.

That’s Entertainment

Life doesn’t have to be a snore just because your pockets are empty. Money buys neither happiness nor a stellar social life. You can get out and about without tossing around a ton of green.

  1. Be art smart Your campus is probably rife with free productions, concerts and workshops. Problem is, nobody really hears about them … and when people do, the enthusiasm is usually lower than the grade on your last calculus test. Time to do some research (track down calendars of events), gather up your dorm mates and head to the next pay-what-you-can play or free movie screening. Even if it’s bad, you’ll get a few laughs — or at least the opportunity to heckle!
  1. Speak Greek Not joining a frat or sorority will save you a lot of cash right out the gate. But what happens when you want to get into the best party of the year and don’t have the connections? Exchange names of brothers and sisters you know with friends and ask them to do the same — on most college campuses, name dropping is the ticket to free admission. Once you’re inside, you’ll get beverages … and if you’re lucky, maybe even a few phone numbers.
  1. Out on the town Be in the know too when it comes to events in neighboring areas. Community organizations often host free outdoor festivals with live music. Local restaurants have early-bird specials. Theater workshops and art galleries frequently offer free or reduced admission. (Again, don’t forget to ask about student rates.) Read newspapers and pay attention to fliers. It could pay off.
  1. Any singles? If you have a significant other who saps all your savings, it may be time to have a chat about cutting back on unnecessary costs or to ask your partner to pull his or her own weight. If this person is not important to you, you may even consider living the single life for now. Romantic dinners and little gifts add up. Is it worth it? Your call.

Shop Till You Plop

Enter upscale department stores and exclusive boutiques at your own risk, but you don’t have to totally give up the urge to splurge. Just tone it down a few notches.

  1. Clothes the deal Punch up your wardrobe without breaking the bank: shop clearance racks. (The best ones are where an additional markdown is given to already slashed prices.) Look for one-of-a-kind finds in thrift and consignment stores. Pick up inexpensive accessories at discount stores and chain boutiques.
  1. Gotta dollar? Discover the beauty of the dollar store. It’s great for party supplies, stationery, candles, soaps, toiletries and tons more. Whether you’re buying useless trinkets or practical necessities, think about it: You can walk in there with a 10-spot and leave with lots of loot. Heck, you can scrape together a dollar plus tax in pocket change and treat yourself to something.
  1. Be a coupon king or queen Keep a lookout for coupons on one-day shopping events at major department stores. Also sign up for email notifications of store specials and be sure to check online for Internet coupons before making a big purchase. (Restaurants and fast food chains run a lot of coupon specials too, so keep your eyes on the prize.) Check it out even BookRenter offers coupons!
  1. Beauty booty Ladies, fine department stores dole out free samples at the cosmetics counters. Want to road test a lip color or facial moisturizer or new perfume? March on over there with an air of confidence and ask the consultant to show you some options. She’ll likely give you mini-sized products to try at home.
  1. What a card! If you’re a die-hard shopaholic experiencing severe withdrawal, hold off before reaching into your cash stash by keeping in mind that the holidays are right around the bend. “It might be painful to wait all semester,” says Appalachian State senior Diane Vachon, “but soon enough you’ll have a dozen gift cards with your name on them.”

Common Cents

Ask not what you can do for your school but what your school can do for you. Universities give back to their student patrons in plenty of ways, so take advantage.

  1. Be book smart The library isn’t just for studying, using the Net and people-watching. It actually contains books — a revelation, I know. If you’re taking subjects like lit, history or philosophy, the library could relieve a big financial burden. Instead of turning to the expensive school bookstore (or even Amazon) for a book, do a quick search on the libe’s browser to see if it’s available. Then drop-kick the kid who’s about to check it out.
  1. Get off your lazy butt If you have access to the campus gym and you’re paying for a pricey fitness membership, stop. Other free-of-charge physical activities: walking, jogging, hiking, in-line skating, riding your bike, a pickup basketball game, lifting weights in your room, dropping to the floor to do sit-ups and push-ups … shall we go on?
  1. Let’s make a deal You’re a smart cookie, so figure out how to split costs with your roommate. Double up on your laundry to save quarters. Share a printer, swap playlists and take the same cab home from a party. And if you’re both heading out of town, consider carpooling. Even if you and your roomie aren’t the best of buds, a road trip is always less taxing when there’s company … and music.
  1. Hop on that job “The No. 1 thing I can say is find a job on campus,” offers up Wabash College junior Mack O’Shaughnessy. “It’s the best way to get some extra cash in your pocket.” On-campus stores and restaurants are often hiring. Just don’t tell the folks: You still need someone’s sympathy, especially when it comes in the form of a crisp Benjamin.

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