Monthly Archives: July 2011

Our “What’s Your Story?” Winners!

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Congratulations to our “What’s Your Story?” winners! They have each demonstrated tremendous strength in the face of hardship, both personal and financial. For their dedication and perseverance, we and SimpleTuition are proud to award them with Campus Success Packs that will hopefully help them along their path through college.

Grand prize winner

Vishakha Mathur

Top three

Stacy Beaty

Alexis Montgomery

Zach Niemiec

Runners-up

Ambar Gutierrez

Victoria Huerta

Demalia Jackson

Vicky Kierans

Tanja Partington

David Wilson

Thank you to everyone who entered! We were blown away by your submissions and hope for all of your stories to have happy endings.

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College Roommates: Some of Us Get Lucky, and Some…Not So Much

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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Check out others’ tales of woe and you’ll never be mad about an unwashed dish again

By Guest Blogger Charmaine Ng I UNIVERSITY OF OREGON:Ambitious and talented, honest and human, this tri-lingual social media strategist and curator is also a published author. Harbors a secret desire to one day have a multi-hyphenated title.

One of the best perks of college is finally getting away from your parents and living on your own. But what happens when your roommate turns out to be, well, not so cool? We’ve all had our share of awkward confrontations and sinks overflowing with dirty dishes. She won’t give you private time. He’s a total party animal. You get the idea.

In my turn at the roulette table of roommates I’ve actually come up a winner, mostly. My freshman year roommate and I were complete opposites and didn’t have the typical BFF story, but we never bit each other’s heads off. Sophomore year, I got a single bedroom. I preferred having the freedom to play my music as loud as I liked and keep odd hours. This past year, I practically lived with my boyfriend and an international student – a senior who graduated after fall term. When the international student moved out, he was replaced by a friend’s younger brother, someone we had never met before. How bad could it be, right?

by Tracie Masek

Well, it wasn’t a disaster. But imagine an awkward amount of cursing during nights of Call of Duty and cigarettes left in the toilet and the trash can. Over the course of two terms he washed the dishes maybe five times, and only helped take out trash and recycling if we asked him. (Happily, next year my boyfriend and I will have a place all to ourselves!)

But in the end, I guess we were pretty lucky. Check out Jezebel’s list of the top 10 absolute worst roommate horror stories! Some might not be real (blood on the walls?!), but these tales will help put your own roommate woes into perspective. As the author says, “you will never be mad about a simple unwashed dish again.”

Are you and your roommates best buddies, or are you not their biggest fan?

We value the diverse voices and fresh ideas that our guest bloggers bring to BookRenter.com. However, the ideas and opinions expressed in guest posts are strictly those of the post’s author and don’t necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of BookRenter.Com. The information in guest posts is often drawn from a variety of sources, and we count on our guest authors to verify and fact-check the content they post. BookRenter.Com makes no claims, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of guest post content or the suitability of the content for a specific purpose.

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Back-to-School Shopping

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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In which your inner fashionista learns to rock her wardrobe with savvy combos, pops of color, and oh yes, major attitude.

by Guest Blogger Kelsey Bradshaw / all collages made by Kelsey

In the middle of the summer, with pool parties every night and flip-flop tan lines growing more distinct by the day, the coming of school in the fall seems like a long way off. But with each sun-drenched day, the beginning of the school year creeps closer and closer. Even though this means that dealing with homework and overeager frat boys is also edging closer, there’s one thing I’m super-excited about: back-to-school shopping. The stores in the mall fill up with new clothes, sales start popping up, I realize how much I miss wearing sweaters – it almost makes up for the fact that you have to wear these new clothes to, you know, class. Plus, everyone needs an excuse for a new pair of shoes.

If, like me, you’re feeling kind of bummed about summer’s end and going back to class, there’s no better remedy than a little back-to-campus retail therapy. And if you’ll follow a few simple steps, you can shop your way straight to the head of the class.

Step 1: Buy things that you like and that express your personality. You can’t go wrong if you stick with what you know works for you. Instead of stocking up on [ever-changing, quick-passing] trends, though, pay attention to the classics, too. You’ll be able to wear your new clothes for years to come, not just for a season. Casual or classic, change things up by adding new accessories to old outfits.

Casual Back to School

Step 2: Mix it up with creative, edgy fashion combos. If your inner fashionista just won’t quit with her demands for something that really rocks, there are lots of ways to have fun with trends this fall. The good news: This year the most popular trends include pieces that are easy to mix with clothes already in your closet to create classic, more timeless looks.

First, try wearing a monochromatic outfit, or wearing one color all the way down. This can range from wearing different shades of bright yellow from head to toe to layering tank tops from the same color family. This trend is an easy one to shop for, since you probably already have different shades of one color in your closet. Keep an eye out for clothes and accessories in colors or patterns that complement what you already have in your closet, or grab a new spectrum of color to layer and have fun with.

Monochrome

Step 3: Master the art of the monochromatic – with a pop of color, of course. Take a neutral, monochromatic outfit and infuse a pop of neon. In fact, the outfit doesn’t even have to be monochromatic, as long as the neutrals don’t overpower the neon. Wearing this look calls for some major attitude, but no problem there, right?

Neon and Neutral

Step 4: Get back to the future. To make sure you get an ‘A’ in back-to-school fashion, invest in some high-waisted shorts. Whether you go for the vintage, 70’s I-just-stole-these-out-of-my-mom’s-closet look or the more preppy style, they’re sure to earn you major fashion points.

High-Waisted Shorts

Remember, as cute and fashion-forward as you’ll look wearing your new duds, be sure to make them your own and let your natural fabulous style shine through. If you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, you’ll look fantastic no matter what.

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So. You’re Living at Home This Summer.

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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Don’t chafe at having a few rules and regulations – benefits abound.

by Guest Blogger Keith Kaplan I ALBION COLLEGE: Brains (double-major honors student, Mortar Board, College Fellow) and brawn (swim team captain and an avid outdoorsman who most days can be seen paddling on the river that runs through his campus). Regular blogger. Co-founder of the eponymous DK Cookies (on Facebook!).

So, you’ve been back home from school this summer, have you? Back under your parents’ roof, in your old room? No matter how great your relationship with your parents is, it’s never easy to go from living on your own at school back to the scene of your growing up years, where on some level you’re still seen as needing close supervision and expected to abide by the house rules.

I have to admit that there are benefits to a temporary move back home (feel free to add to my list and share your own experiences).

by Robyn Lee

  • Home-cooked meals: Although it can be a struggle to cook for a family when everyone is fussy about what they eat, I do put my culinary skills to work fixing a meal now and then. But most nights I don’t actually have to shop for groceries or make a full dinner. My parents do it.
  • Laundry “service”: As much as we all love doing laundry…just kidding. My mom is nice enough to still do my laundry, even though I’ve been on my own for a few years now.
  • Friends who are back in town: When I came back home after graduation, it felt a little weird at first. But I found that a few old friends from high school were also back in town, and it’s been fun re-establishing those connections. Another plus: I have some place to go when my parents are driving me crazy (or the other way around).

There are also some potential challenges:

  • Striking a balance: I’ve been home for about two months, and it’s been tough getting used to how things go down in the house and finding a balance between the things I want to do – it’s my summer break, after all – and contributing to the life of the household (even the little things like loading and unloading the dishwasher, doing yard work, or washing the cars are appreciated).
  • Having a curfew: Depending on your parents, you might have a curfew. Even if you’re 21, remember that you’re living under your parents’ roof and need to live by their rules. Once you’ve been home awhile and established a routine, your ‘rents are likely to get more reasonable about when you need to be in at night, especially when they see how mature you’ve become (you are more mature now, right?).
  • Boredom: Chilling at home all day might sound good, but trust me, you’re going to get bored. If you don’t have a job, an internship, or some regularly scheduled activities, you’ll go crazy (I mean this in the least offensive way). Don’t let it happen! Make it a point to have a plan each day.

When you come back home, your parents need to realize that you’ve been off on your own for the past year, and your lifestyle is quite different. On the other hand, you need to realize that you’re not at college anymore. Come to a compromise on rules and activities that happen while you’re at home. It’s better to talk it out sooner than later because depending on your parents, they might still want to ground you.

We value the diverse voices and fresh ideas that our guest bloggers bring to BookRenter.com. However, the ideas and opinions expressed in guest posts are strictly those of the post’s author and don’t necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of BookRenter.Com. The information in guest posts is often drawn from a variety of sources, and we count on our guest authors to verify and fact-check the content they post. BookRenter.Com makes no claims, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of guest post content or the suitability of the content for a specific purpose.

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Entrepreneurship and College: Part 3

Filed under: Notes from an Entrepreneur, Post Grad and Career - BookRenter Team
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Whether or not you choose to be a student entrepreneur, make college the place where you find your passion.

by Guest Blogger Keith Kaplan I ALBION COLLEGE: Brains (double-major honors student, Mortar Board, College Fellow) and brawn (swim team captain and an avid outdoorsman who most days can be seen paddling on the river that runs through his campus). Regular blogger. Co-founder of the eponymous DK Cookies (on Facebook!).

College is a time for learning – a time for finding yourself and setting yourself up for the future. It’s a time for taking chances, searching out opportunities. This is the last installment in a three-part series on collegiate entrepreneurship and how it can help set you up for the future you dream of having.

So you’ve seen a few businesses and heard about students starting their own businesses. The big question is, “How do I do it?” Starting a business is no simple task. When I interviewed successful entrepreneurs, I asked them what advice they’d give to aspiring student entrepreneurs. Today I’m going to share with you their key takeaways and how you might be able to apply them on your college campus. Don’t plan to start your own business, ever? Read on anyway – these guidelines will serve you well no matter what direction life takes you.

1. Use your resources: Nihal Parthasarathi, co-founder of CourseHorse, mentioned that one of the greatest things to do on your college campus is “use your resources,” from asking your professors for recommendations to bouncing ideas off your friends. Don’t be afraid to ask people for favors, because most of the time they’re more than willing to help you.

2. Don’t be shy: One of the great pieces of advice Nathan Latka gave was not to be shy when you ask for money. He realized that if you have a great product, people won’t complain if you charge more for it. Customers may even view your product as more legitimate and be more likely to use it.

3. Don’t be a bottle neck: There comes a time in running a business when you will need to expand. You can’t do it all. Someday it’ll be time to grow and bring more people on board.

by Aidan Jones

4. Do be a social butterfly: Meet anyone and everyone you can meet and expand your network. The bigger your network, the greater the pool of talent you’ll have to draw on when you need it.

5. Take (smart) risks: Everyone I talked to said that to be successful in running your own business, you need to take chances. Sometimes the results will be positive, and sometimes they’ll be negative. As Matt Mosher, co-founder and CEO of HiredmyWay, said, “Make mistakes to be successful.” This is how he created a multi-million dollar landscaping company.

6. Learn new things: With the free time you have before you start a new business , take any opportunity to learn skills that might be useful once your company’s up and running. Nihal mentioned that he wished he’d learned Photoshop or PHP before he started CourseHorse because he doesn’t have time to study them now.

7. Get excited: No matter what product you’re selling, get excited about it. If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, you shouldn’t be selling it. Jason Bolt, founder of Shady Peeps, mentioned that one of the reasons that they’re successful is because their team is enthusiastic about their sunglasses.

8. Have knowledge: Be smart and don’t go into a business that you don’t know anything about. You’ll be better off going into a business based on something you already know. For example, Jason Bolt already had some experience with design when he went into designing sunglasses.

9. Don’t reinvent the wheel: After speaking to Matt, I learned you shouldn’t try to change the way the business process is performed. Instead, you should focus more on the ideas and originality of your business – exactly what Michigan-based HiredmyWay did to become a revolutionary job-board website.

10. Remember that the ball is in your hands: One of the biggest takeaways Nihal mentioned was the power you hold as an entrepreneur. The amount of effort and time you put into your business are factors that determine success. In turn it’s up to you to create that success.

Entrepreneurship is unique and unlike any other experience. An idea can evolve into something even bigger than you expected. You can see the full business process unfold and hopefully become successful. It’s been said that college is “something to do because you don’t know what you want to do with your life.” This may be true for some, but don’t let it be true for you: Whether you choose to be a student entrepreneur or you don’t, do make college the place where you find a passion and create – or at least set the stage for – your own future.

We value the diverse voices and fresh ideas that our guest bloggers bring to BookRenter.com. However, the ideas and opinions expressed in guest posts are strictly those of the post’s author and don’t necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of BookRenter.Com. The information in guest posts is often drawn from a variety of sources, and we count on our guest authors to verify and fact-check the content they post. BookRenter.Com makes no claims, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of guest post content or the suitability of the content for a specific purpose.

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