Category Archives: College Life

Dos And Don’ts To Packing For Studying Abroad

Filed under: College Life, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

I am lucky enough to be one of the student’s from Texas State going to Spain this summer to study abroad! I’ve been so excited for various parts of the trip, but as it gets closer, anxiety has definitely set in because I have had to start thinking about what I should pack! There’s only so much room in a suitcase, but I also want to make sure I’m prepared since I’ll be so far away from home!

I put together a list of my do’s and don’ts for my trip to help guide you when (or if) you take an abroad trip! Of course, these are things that are important to me, so you can always customize your list when the time comes!

Do’s

The most important things to pack when studying abroad are:

1. Passport/ID

This one seems pretty obvious, but I feel like I have to mention it because your passport is the number one important thing that you need to bring on your trip. Before you leave, make copies of it and your ID. Take copies for yourself, but also give family members copies of them, just in case something happens! It’s best to be prepared.

2. Camera

Whether it’s disposable, or a digital camera, bring one. Don’t just rely on your phone! This way you avoid running out of storage or damaging your phone. Also, the quality can sometimes be better.

3. Several Forms of Money

I plan on bringing a debit card, credit card, travelers checks, and also getting some Euro’s before I head to Spain. The last thing you want to happen is for something to get stolen and it be your only form of money. Keep these forms in different places around your luggage, and in the hotel safe!

4. Adapters

Pay attention to what country you’re traveling to and find out if you need to buy a special adapter. I need to bring one because of my hair devices and phone charger. Don’t wait until you get to the airport to buy one, it’ll be way over priced!

5. Comfortable Shoes

As much as I want to look good out on the streets of Barcelona and Madrid, I also know that their streets are mostly cobblestone and I’ll be doing a lot of walking. It’s way more important to be able to walk the next day, than to get a compliment on your shoes!

Don’ts

This list is just a few things people have advised me not to bring abroad. I agree with them and will pass them along to you:

1. More Than One Hair Device

This one is easy. Choose if you want a straightener or a curling iron. For those like me, who like both, just choose one! You’ll be thankful when your suitcase has more room!

2. Expensive Jewelry

You don’t need to bring any of your expensive jewelry. Especially if it has sentimental value. Leave it at home so you avoid the risk of losing it or it being stolen.

3. Lots of Shoes

Your best bet is to look over your itinerary and figure out exactly how many pairs of shoes you’ll need, and then don’t pack more than that. I’m bringing a business casual pair, a comfy pair, and sandals. Shoes take up so much space, and they aren’t a necessity.

Hopefully you’ll get to experience studying abroad, and if you do, hopefully this list helps you get started with your packing!

Share your packing advice in a comment below!

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5 Biggest Resume Mistakes

Filed under: College Life, Post Grad and Career, Tips - Angelina
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Sylwia BaranBookRenter Blogger Biography

A resume is the very first impression you make on any possible future employers. Before you even have a chance to charm your interviewer with your wit and humor, they have to first like your resume. Therefore, it is crucial that your resume is impressive, professional, and on-point. Don’t make silly mistakes that can potentially cost you a job.

Avoid these resume mistakes and you could be on your way to your next interview:

1. Forgetting to Proofread

This is the number one mistake that job applicants make that has a huge impact on a resume review and yet can be so easily avoided. Make sure to read your resume over several times before sending out a final copy. Then after you’ve read it, have a friend read it over too in case you missed anything. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

2. Lying

Although it’s usually okay to embellish a little bit about your responsibilities at previous jobs, do not put down blatant lies. If you do not know how to use certain computer software that the job you are applying for requires, don’t say you do know how to use it in the hopes of figuring it out if you get the job! This will not work and you will just end up looking like a liar and feeling embarrassed.  Then your whole overall value as a reliable employee will be tarnished, and may even cost you the position.

3. Not Enough Detail

If you are a recent college graduate, you are probably desperately applying to 20 different jobs each day, so your natural instinct may tell you to simplify this process by creating a generic resume that you can quickly send out that generalizes your skills to apply to all of the jobs you are applying for. Do not do this. It is tempting because it is easy, but make the time to tweak your resume to be specific to each job that you apply for. Use the same key words from the posted job description to fill into your resume. The person reviewing your resume will see you obtain all the skills required for the job and may ask you to come in for an interview. It is more beneficial to send out 8 resumes that are more personalized and detail-oriented, than to send out 20 cookie-cutter resumes.

4. Rambling

More information is not always the best. Using superfluous words and rambling just to fill space on the page does not indicate more experience for the job. It may actually do more harm than good. It’s good to keep a resume short to the point. As the saying goes, quality is better than quantity.

5. Unprofessional Presentation

Resumes should be clean, not crumbled, typed in black ink (unless you are applying for graphic design), with consistent font face and size. Your resume should not only read as professional, but should also look that way as well. It should be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but also nothing crazy. Use traditional formatting and make sure it is easy to read. When in doubt, clean and simple is the best way to go.

Put some effort and time into your resume each time you apply for a job. You may be anxious (that’s normal) to just applying to any job you come across that looks decent, but don’t just throw yourself into applying without taking the time to present yourself in the best light for the position. Your resume is your golden ticket to get called in for an interview, so be sure to treat it as an important step in the application process!

Share your resume tips with us in the comments below!

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Get Motivated To Staying Fit

Filed under: College Life, Health & Fitness, Tips - Angelina
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Darlene Megino BookRenter Blogger Biography

Unfortunately, this will be my last blog for BookRenter. It has been a great three years sharing my insights about DIYs, fashion, college life, and more with everyone. For my last blog, I wanted to share some ideas on how to stay motivated while getting fit. Staying motivated to keep in shape is always a struggle. Changing your exercise routine or diet is not easy. However, there are many ways to keep motivated towards reaching your goal, even on days where you just want to quit.

Here are a three ways to stay motivated to stay in shape:

1. Join A Weight Loss Pool

Weight loss pools are a great way to stay motivated when you are losing weight. The goal of the weight loss pool is that everyone pools in their money and has to achieve one goal. Those who achieve the goal win a portion of the sum of money that was collected. There are many websites, like Diet Bet, that have weight loss pools with participants from different cities, states, and even countries! So work out and get rewarded for it at the same time!

2. Reward Jar

Grab a Mason jar and add in $50 to $100. Create a list of rewards to do for every time you reach a goal. For instance, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, you can reward yourself with something small using the money from the jar for every 5 pounds you lose. You can treat yourself to some frozen yogurt, buying a new pair of jeans, or a day trip to the city. You can decide how big or small to make the reward jar. I personally have a reward jar filled with money saved towards reaching my goal of losing weight for a trip to Hawaii. Do whatever works for you!

3. Track Your Workouts

Get yourself a nice Fitbit or similar fitness tracker. You can utilize this by tracking your steps, movements, and calories. If you can’t afford to purchase a Fitbit, then download an app like MyFitnessPal (you can even use it straight on the web). By tracking your steps, workouts, and calories, you’ll become more aware of your fitness habits. You can even link up with friends and compare your results to get fit together!

The most important thing is to learn what is motivating you to reach your goal, and to keep that as your fuel for your fire. You can always change up your incentives as you go if you feel like it is not enough to motivate you.

Tell us what motivates you in a comment below!

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5 Reasons To Study Abroad

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

One of the most unique opportunities offered by colleges these days are the various study abroad programs. There are so many different options when choosing to study abroad. If your school doesn’t offer it directly, there are tons of organizations that offer abroad education. If you’re looking to get school credit, you could always just ask your college for approval if it is not associated with them. However, studying abroad is a valuable experience even if you don’t receive college credit.

Here are the top 5 reasons I believe you should study abroad before you graduate:

1. Learn More About Other Cultures

I’m going to Spain next month to study abroad, and for the past six months I’ve been doing research about the country and I have learned so many things I never knew. I already feel more educated not only about Spain, but of Europe. When I go, I’ll be able to experience their way of life, their culture, and the way that their public relations firms are ran. Whatever field you’re studying, studying abroad can expand your knowledge and allow you to gain valuable skills that will impress future job interviewers.

2. Get A Leg Up On The Competition

Even though there are various programs throughout the world, less than 10% of undergraduate students study abroad. No matter what field you are in, going abroad will definitely set you apart from the rest.

3. Its Cheaper Than To Travel On Your Own

One of the main reasons students don’t opt to do a semester or a year overseas is because they fear the cost of the program will be too high. With most schools, mine included, there are a ton of scholarships offered specifically for abroad education. You can also apply for financial aid to help bring down the cost. Most programs will have package deals that the school sets up, so your overall trip is dramatically cheaper than if you were to travel on your own time. If traveling is an interest of yours, definitely do it this way as a student while you can.

4. You Create Strong Bonds With The Other Students

You’re normally with a group of about 15 to 30 people, depending on your program. I’ll be travelling with 25. The experiences you’ll create with these people will turn into great memories that’ll last forever because you will be learning and exploring together. I haven’t even left yet and I’ve already become so close with the girl I’ll be rooming with while we’re there. This has helped me a lot since this is my first year at a new school too!

5. It Makes Summer School Seem Not So Bad

I feel like I am so lucky because not only am I getting to take two classes that I need to graduate, but I also get to go to Europe for my first time. I’ve always taken summer school, but it is honestly difficult to get through. My friends that take trips, and make plans for all summer, definitely leave me jealous, but now, I’m able to have a great vacation and get the credits I need this summer!

Whether you’re at a school that has study abroad programs or not, there are hundreds of programs throughout the world that allow students to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can broaden your perspective on culture, lifestyles, and field of study. I encourage you to at least look into a few programs and start daydreaming about where you’d want to go. Remember, don’t get discouraged about cost because sometimes your school can help!

Leave a comment if you have traveled abroad or are planning to. Where did you, or are planning to, go? Share your experience with us!

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What Graduating Really Means

Filed under: College Life, Graduation, Post Grad and Career - Angelina
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Sylwia BaranBookRenter Blogger Biography

 

We count down to the days when we no longer have 10 page papers to write, when our bank accounts will have more than $10 in them, and when we finally leave our college campus for the last time and say goodbye to school once and for all after 15+ years. As exciting and wonderful as graduation is, sometimes post-grad life can come as quite a shock to some.

It may take a while for graduation to actually sink in, but graduating really means…

1. Looking For A Job

This should really start even before your graduation day because believe me, you won’t find a job overnight. It can take months to even find a suitable job, and then can take another month just go to through the hiring process of applications, interviews, and paperwork. Be hopeful when applying for jobs, but keep in mind that you will likely not hear back from a majority of the places you apply to. Don’t get discouraged!

2. Working 9 to 5

Once you finally land a job, get ready for what most adults call “the 9 to 5” schedule. Your once underappreciated student schedule of 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. is now long gone. No more mid-day naps and suddenly you realize you spend most of your waking life at work.

3. Working In A Field Different Than Your Major

You may graduate with a major in Anthropology, but that doesn’t mean you will get a job pertaining to what you maybe had hoped. That is okay. You may find that after a long job search, it may be wise to say yes to the next job that comes your way, because face it – being an adult now means you have responsibilities, such as bills. Who knows, you may even really like a job you never would have before considered.

4. Waking Up Early

Morning classes were always a last pick, but now waking up early may not be an option anymore. Once you have a full-time job, you won’t be able to roll out of bed at 9:55 a.m. every morning for your 10:00 a.m. class. You will have to actually make sure you have time to dress appropriately and get to your destination on time.

5. Going To Bed By 10:00 P.M. Every Night

Once you’re waking up every day at 6:00 a.m., going to sleep early is no longer an option but a necessity in order to function. Trust me. Nights that you force yourself to stay awake like the good old days, will only have you suffering the next day.

6. Still Not Having Any Time For Anything

Even though you’ll be waking up at the crack of dawn, you’ll still find yourself with absolutely no time for anything other than work and sleep. It’s a sad reality. Even if you had time to do things, by the time you get home from work, it is very likely that you are exhausted and will have zero motivation to continue to be a productive member of society.

7. Losing Contact With Your Friends

Those people you promised to be friends with forever as you departed Graduation will probably be forgotten by December. Sorry, but it’s true. You’ll jump into your busy work lives and the lack of free time and the distance makes it a whole lot harder to stay social. If you are lucky, you will have a few friends you will keep in contact with, but daily hangouts will be reduced significantly. Just remember, this is normal for everyone.

8. Paying Off Loans

Yup, those pesky loans will now finally catch up to you. There should be a six month grace period from the moment you graduate until the first payment is due, but remember that a college education was an investment towards your future. Pay off what you can by the due dates, and everything should be alright. Don’t freak out over the total number, but think of it as monthly payments instead to make it a lot easier to handle.

9. No More Student Discounts

The next discount you’ll be eligible for is the senior discount, unless you go into the military. Being a college student really did have some perks; every penny counts!

10. Limited Napping Opportunities

Creating your own class schedule in college meant that you could perfectly arrange time in your day to nap between classes. Working full time not only changes your schedule, but in the chance that you nap when you get home from work, you likely will then have trouble falling asleep that night and then be tired the next day. There is no winning here.

11. Living At Home Again

For those of us who cannot afford to live on our own just yet, this means moving back home with Mom and Dad. Except now, it’s harder because they think everything will revert back to how it used to be before college, and you consider yourself an adult that shouldn’t be told what to do. It’s a complete struggle of power. Who wins? No one. Just take one day at a time and remember that when the day comes to move out, you will miss being at home.

12. No More Partying

You’ll be tucking yourself into bed at the same hour of the night that you used to be pre-gaming for parties in college. It may be a sad thought, but it shows maturity and responsibility. The world will not end, I promise.

13. More Consequences For Skipping A Day

We all have those days where we are tired, grumpy, or not feeling well. Deciding not to go to class wasn’t a big deal because you could always borrow someone else’s notes, but skipping work now has more serious consequences than skipping class. Skipping work, or even being late, reflects poorly on you and could even cost you your job. Thankfully, some work places offer you enough sick days or annual days that hopefully you will be able to re-group if necessary. Still, do not use them after at least being an employee for several months.

14. The End Of Summer, Winter, and Spring  Breaks

This is by far the biggest disadvantage of no longer being in school. We were truly spoiled with two month-long breaks in the summer. If and when you are lucky enough to put in for some vacation time at work, it will not be for as long.

For the Class of 2015, please take heed!  Your life is about to change drastically over the next year, and it may seem overwhelming – at times you might have a full-blown panic attack. Keep cool. No one ever said life was easy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy these changes. Yes, more responsibility is coming your way, but just remember that there is no better feeling than to achieve goals you have had set for so long. Do not get discouraged if everything doesn’t fall into place as originally thought; just keep working towards your desires and everything will be just fine.

Congratulations graduates! You’ve worked hard, don’t stop now!

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