Author Archives: Angelina

10 Winter Break Activities That Won’t Break The Bank

Filed under: Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations - Angelina
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Sylwia Baran

Winter break is about half-way through! If you haven’t taken advantage of your time off from school yet, it’s time to start getting serious about having some fun! Here are some suggestions to make sure your winter break is all you could ask for before starting the new semester.

1. Snow Tubing

This doesn’t have to cost a single penny. All you need is snow, a hill, and a garbage lid. Grab some family members and/or some friends and you’ve got a great day ahead of you!

College Student Snow Tubing On Winter Break

Photo © exposure

2. Netflix

Winter break is the time to lounge on the couch and binge on your favorite shows and movies. Make some hot chocolate, put on your fuzzy socks, and really get into it – this is the time!

Netflix TV Binge Watching Relaxing

Photo © Fox Business

3. Baking

Take this time out of college to try out a few new recipes. The internet is filled with some great ideas, some are even winter festive! If you already know how to bake, try baking something new, if you don’t know how to bake, this is your chance to learn! Once you are done, you will have some delicious snacks to munch on later.

Winter Snowflake Baking

Photo © Artemis Cookware

4. Museums

Many museums have “free days” on which you do not have to pay an entrance fee. Take advantage of these! If you go with a couple of friends, it is actually a lot of fun!

Museum Dinosaur

Photo © kidsfuninseoul

5. Re-Organize Your Closet

After four months of piling your laundry all over the place, take a day out of your winter break to clean up a bit. Organize your closet. Go through clothes that no longer fit or you will not longer wear and donate them. Do some laundry and get everything back into place. Doing this always gives me the feeling of a fresh start, which is great for the upcoming Spring semester.

Organize College Closet

Photo © stupic

6. Read

Even though you’re probably sick of books by the end of each semester, use your winter break to do something you may not get the chance to do during the semester: read for pleasure.

Reading Books By The Fireplace Winter

Photo © Her Campus

7. Re-connect With Friends

While classes are in session, it’s hard to keep up with all of our friends in between midterms, finals, and papers. This is the perfect time to re-connect with some of those friends and make some lasting memories.

Winter Hanging Out With Friends

Photo © Mass Public Health Blog

8. Rent A Cabin

Gather a larger group of your friends and rent a cabin for a couple of days. When you split the cost between all of you, it is not that expensive. If you really want a challenge, do this without the iPads, laptops, and cell phones. Sometimes it is nice to get back in tune with nature.

Friends Get Cabin In The Winter Woods

Photo © wvcabins

9. Earn Some Extra Cash

Use the few weeks you have off to earn some extra spending money for the upcoming semester. Find a temporary gig, work in the catering hall, or pick up some extra shifts at your current job while you have the time off.

College Student Working In Dining Hall

Photo © University Housing at Illinois

10. Relax

Whether that means taking a bubble bath or going out dancing, remember to relax this winter break! You deserve to relax before the upcoming semester.

Ice Skating Winter Break Relaxing

Photo © Your Naperville

What have you been doing for your winter break? Share with us in the comments!

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Alternative Ways To Celebrate The Holidays

Filed under: Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations, Social Life/Relationships, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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BookRenter Blogger Biography Cameron Tranchemontagne

The holidays in the fall and winter are my favorite holidays. As I thought about why that is, I realized that gift-giving is low on the list of things I love about the holidays. I think the number one thing that makes Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa so special is the emotion. Maybe it’s the years of Christmas advertisements burned into my mind, but there’s something in the air that just seems to make everything more joyful.

My family celebrates Christmas. We get our Christmas tree a day or two after Thanksgiving, decorate it together as a family, buy gifts for each other, go to my Aunt’s annual Christmas Eve party, and then open presents Christmas morning and eat a hearty breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, hash-browns, and toast. This year we decided a change was needed. Instead of our traditional Christmas activities, we decided to scrap the gift-giving, forgo the Christmas tree, and forget the feasts.

These are some unconventional ideas for alternative ways to celebrate the holidays:

1. Family Outing

My family and I went on a vacation. Going on a trip with loved ones is a great way to get closer as you share new and exciting experiences together and create memories to last for years to come. I know I cannot wait to be lounging on the beach in the Virgin Islands with my family, soaking up the sun and fishing by day and having dinner by night.

Family on vacation at the beach

Photo © Birds Paradise Travel

2. More Than A Gift

My friend’s family has a pretty interesting tradition as well. They also celebrate Christmas, so they buy a tree, invite lots of people over for a pot-luck dinner, and they give each other gifts. However, these gifts are deeply personal and often take more effort than just going to a store and buying something. Some gift examples include a photo album consisting of pictures of the giver and receiver over the years, or a song written and recorded by the giver, or a playlist of songs that the giver knows the receiver loves. All these gifts are different but have one thing in common: they transcend consumerism and touch people on a deeper level.

Looking At Photo Album Christmas Gift

Photo © She Knows

3. Pay It Forward

Another idea for an alternative holiday is to “pay it forward” by giving the gift of a charitable donation in the name of the person you would normally just go buy the newest gadget for. Think of the good you’ll be doing if, instead of buying your 70 year old grandmother a smartphone that she will never completely understand, donate the money to Alzheimer’s research. Instead of buying dad a new tie, you could buy a months’ worth of dinner for a family less fortunate. If you are having difficulty coming up with a charity, the local food pantries always need help this time of year. I’m sure they would be more than happy to have volunteers.

Pay It Forward Holiday Donation Giving Back

Photo © Marion Online

Whatever holiday you celebrate, remember the true meaning is about celebrating with family, friends, and even the community. It’s about giving back and doing something special. If you could celebrate the holidays differently, what would you do?

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Giving Back This Season

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations, Social Life/Relationships - Angelina
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Darlene Megino BookRenter Blogger Biography

Holiday break is always a great time filled with family, food, fun, and presents! During your holiday break, don’t forget to take some time to give back to the community! Whether you donate to a food drive, donate clothes, or help out a local soup kitchen, you can spread the holiday cheer and remember what the holidays are truly about.

1. Coat Drive

Take a look into your closet and see which coats you no longer wear. If you are feeling like you can part with it, donate it to a local charity drive! There are a ton of coat charity drives that reward people for their generous donations. For instance, some restaurants and coffee shops give donors a free dessert, appetizer, or coffee for every X amount of jackets they bring. Some places even give gift cards in exchange for some coats. So, clean out that closet, donate your coat to someone in need, and maybe even get rewarded! Check your local businesses for coat charity drives.

Winter Charity Coat Drive

Photo © trend-kid

2, Toys For Tots

If you have extra cash to spare, then donate some new toys to Toys for Tots! This wonderful organization gives toys to kids who are less fortunate. Their parents request toys for their holiday gifts and donated toys will fulfill the child’s wishlist. If you don’t have any extra cash to purchase gifts, you can also host your own Toys For Tots event to donate to the charity.

Toys for Tots Charity

Photo © Toys For Tots

3. Volunteer

Looking to give back, but have no way of donating items? No problem! You can volunteer at local shelters, church parishes, and soup kitchens. You can volunteer to help serve food to those in need or simply help set-up. No task is too small and they are always welcoming new volunteers. Find places to volunteer: http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/

Soup Kitchen Holiday Volunteer Work

Photo © WHL Consulting

Happy Holidays! How are you planning to give back?

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Staying In Touch For The Holidays

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations, Social Life/Relationships - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

If you’re like me, and most college students, you can’t afford to fly everywhere to see the people you love during the holidays. The holidays are a time to share love with the people in your life that you care about, and sometimes if you’re not able to be with them, you have to be creative on how you show them you love them! Here are a few very simple ways that I have shown love and stayed in touch with family and friends during the holiday season, and you can too!

1. Christmas Cards

Websites like Vista Print, Shutterfly, etc. are cheap and allow you to design your own card. Or, just make your own! Sending cards are a fun, easy, and quick way to say hello to friends and family. My last Christmas card had a picture of me and three of my pets. On the back, I gave a brief description of how I was doing in school and how my pets were doing. This makes the people you send the card to, feel updated and loved by you!

DIY Holiday Christmas Cards

Photo © Guru Koala

2. Skype

Skype is one of the best ways to keep in touch with anyone, anywhere. I love it because it feels like you’re sitting across from the person you are talking to. A few years ago, I was cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner and my dad walked me through the whole thing on Skype! It made us both feel lucky to have that kind of technology. It felt like we were cooking together. Video chatting is one of the best things to do if you’re distant from your friends and family.

Skype Video Chat

Photo © Skype

3. Surprise Gifts

This one may require you to save a few bucks, but it’s totally worth it for the people you love. Last year, we said we wouldn’t exchange gifts, but I sent my dad and step mom flowers and Christmas cupcakes that were delivered to the house. They felt so much love from the gesture, even though I was miles away. If you can’t afford much, then get creative! Send them a framed picture that you love of the two of you, write them a song, or whatever you’re talented at – use it as a surprise gift that will surely brighten their day!

Christmas Cookies

Photo © goodtaste

Distance is hard all the time, but it is especially hard during the holidays. Tackle the sadness of distance and be proactive by showing the people you love how much they mean to you, no matter how far away they are!

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Test Taking Tips

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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Sylwia Baran

Tests are a dreaded, but necessary part of college. They are the cause of countless sleepless nights and stressful breakouts, but they don’t have to be. Feeling fully prepared for a test can take a lot of that stress away. Here are a few ways to make the process a bit more bearable:

1. Use Your Notes

The notes you take in class are probably your best tool when it comes to studying. Simply re-reading your notes may not be enough though – instead, rewrite your notes. This may seem too time consuming, however I’ve found it to be much more effective when trying to remember the material. It may also allow you to re-organize the material in a way that may make more sense. I’ve also found that rewriting them by hand is more effective than typing the notes out, but you have to find what works best for you.

Studying Notes For College Test Exam

Photo © Cardigans & Chai

2. Explain The Material To Someone Else

This is a trick I’ve used for years. After studying the material, do your best of discussing it with another person, or try to teach them the material. Sometimes just saying the words out loud and hearing the material can help you soak it up. If you can’t teach it, you don’t know it. During this process, you can realize which material you need to study more.

College Tutoring Teaching Studying For Exam

Photo © My Guru

3. Eat Before Your Test

Nothing is more distracting than trying to silence the growls coming from your stomach in a silent room. Never go into a test hungry! Instead of focusing on your test, you’ll be thinking about the embarrassing noises coming from your stomach that are causing your classmates to give you funny looks. Keep a granola bar in your bag for such emergencies so as to avoid this unnecessary distraction. Also, fueling your stomach fuels your brain!

Breakfast Before College Exam

Photo © Her Campus

4. It’s Just A Test

Tell yourself those four words. After all, it IS just a test. This may seem like the easiest thing to do but actually letting go of the stress and pressure of a test is very difficult for most of us. No matter how important the test is, once you’ve already sat down to take it it’s time to relax and just do the best you can.

Taking Test In College

Photo © Frank Walton

Do you have any tips for improving test-taking? Share with us in a comment below. Good luck and remember, it’s just a test!

 

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