Category Archives: College Life

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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Crash Guide To Acing Finals: Suggestions From A Senior

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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BookRenter Blogger Biography Cameron Tranchemontagne

Some people handle finals better than others, but for the majority of the college student population this is an incredibly stressful time. Time after time again, I have seen my peers work themselves into a state of perpetual anxiety induced by their fears over the outcome of their finals. They either feel that they have not studied enough, worry they studied the wrong material, or they let their procrastination get the best of them. But, when students obsessively worry about their finals, it can have detrimental effects. Some students find it harder to focus on individual tasks because of the sheer overwhelming amount of work constantly dividing their attention; some can’t sleep or force themselves to stay awake for unhealthy amounts of time; some turn to unhealthy decisions like Adderall (which should only be taken in small doses and only if prescribed by a doctor), which can cause liver damage and even addiction.

Finals can be stressful, but there are ways to overcome this challenge and walk away with pride.

Anxiety

I have struggled with anxiety in the past until I became a lazy and unmotivated teenager. I still struggle staying motivated to do my work, but I have come to realize that by being more laid back and not worrying so much about the material, I actually began to improve on my test and essay scores. I could more easily recall the information I had learned in class or studied for homework just by being more calm and collected. Then this brought confidence. If you feel that you are overwhelmed and drowning in work, take a break. Take a moment to think, reflect, breathe, and then plan out how you are going to approach your workload. Once you break it down on paper and have a solid plan, that Mt. Everest of work and responsibility is diminished to nothing but a bunny slope.

Preparation

Simply telling yourself “everything is going to be ok” is not enough (but it helps with anxiety). You actually have to put in the work. Write down your plan of what you want to get done and how long it will take to accomplish. I like to write down my plan in a personal agenda or calendar, but plenty of people are more inclined to use their phones or tablets. In each box (day), I write down what I want to accomplish for that day and I mark the due date for assignments. For example, I may write in the box for 5/11 that I want to work on an introduction to an essay that is due Friday. I write in the Friday box what time the essay is due. I continue to break down the assignment throughout the week to make the assignment easier and less daunting. Having a specific plan and visualizing due dates can help to keep you on task and organized.

Take Breaks

Finally, as mentioned before, don’t forget to take a break once in a while. Most experts agree that studying in 1 hour blocks with 15 minute breaks is the most effective way to study. That is not to say that you should follow this model perfectly. Sometimes when I am studying, I like to keep going even past an hour just to keep my momentum up. I generally just take a break once I start having difficulty focusing. This is a signal to me that my brain is tiring and can no longer stay on one task. No matter how long it takes you, once you start to feel brain-dead, take a quick break. Get up from your workstation to get a change of scenery and work your blood flow. Try to find something else that will engage your brain and/or body. Playing music, taking a walk, getting a snack, or talking to a friend are all great break-time activities. Just remember to keep it short. Sometimes a “quick break” can easily derail a perfectly good study session.

Sleep Well

Make sure you are getting enough sleep. The brain simply cannot function at full capacity when it is sleep deprived. This will just make things harder for yourself. Avoid late night cram sessions and definitely do not pull an all-nighter, no matter how desperate you may be to study material. You will be guaranteed to crash during your exam if you do. Sleep actually helps memory function and helps to keep focus, which are things that are definitely needed for finals.

Always remember that if you don’t get your desired grade on a final, it is not going to ruin your life. Surround yourself with positivity. Listen to some feel-good music, hangout or study with your best friends, and always remember: everything is going to be okay. Everyone has the potential to do well; never doubt your abilities. Just give your best shot at finals – giving anything less than your best, will only cheat yourself.

Good luck!

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Going Green For Earth Day

Filed under: College Life, Education, Fun Ideas, Tips - Angelina
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BookRenter Blogger Biography Cameron Tranchemontagne

Earth Day started in 1970 to recognize the need for and celebrate environmental protection. Now, it is a global event, celebrated annually on April 22nd. There are typically many different festivals or events that occur on Earth Day with lots of activities to educate people on how to “go green.” “Going green” means to act in a way that is environmentally friendly that will protect the environment and sustain natural resources. There are many different ways (some simple, others creative) to “go green” this Earth Day and help make a difference!

1. Save Energy At Home

This is at the top of my list because it is the most common (and a simple) way to try to live green. Try reducing your utility usage (water, electricity, and heat/air conditioning) and not only will the environment thank you, but so will your wallet! Reducing the amount of utilities you use will save you money and the earth’s resources. Turn off unused lights, upgrade to more efficient appliances, reduce water usage, and insulate your windows and walls to conserve heat/air conditioning. Instead of sitting at home and watching television or playing videogames, consider going on a walk, exercising, learning to play an instrument (that’s not electric), or planting a tree! Distract yourself from the use of utilities for a while to make a difference and when you eventually do return to watching Netflix, please do so responsibly.

2. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

This is a creative option that not many people consider. Using just vinegar, baking soda, lemons, and soap you can make your own cleaning supplies that are environmentally friendly. What most people don’t think about when using regular cleaning supplies is if the product label says it’s toxic to people, wouldn’t that imply that it is not so great for environment either? Pouring those cleaning supplies down the drain, or throwing away a Windex-soaked paper towel, exposes the environment to these toxins. Some products are labeled as eco-friendly, but be sure to read the label to be sure. Even still, you are better off creating your own cleaning products since you know the materials used first hand and will probably spend less money for them.

3. Buy Used And Donate Items

Buying and donating used items (that are still in good condition) are great ways to reuse and recycle items. Unfortunately, not a lot of people like to own previously used items because they want the newest stuff for themselves. This is the most common mentality since we have been taught how to be good consumers. However, this has led to overproduction of goods and an increase in waste. Not only is buying used a good way to “go green,” but it is also a great way to spend less money. Garage sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, and searching online are all great places to look for discounted used items. Also, buying used does not classify you as “lower class.” It classifies you as smart, responsible, and caring.

4. Buy Local Food

Do you know where your food comes from when you buy it from a store? It is likely that it traveled about 1,500 miles before ever reaching your dinner plate. Think about it. You are relying on the necessity of oil to have your food shipped to you. Oil debate aside, this takes a huge toll on the environment and disenfranchises local farmers trying to make a living with responsible farming practices such as intermittent grazing. If you buy from a local farmer’s market not only are you supporting that farmer, but you are also supporting your local economy and likely buying food that tastes much superior. You are also reducing the distance from the source, which reduces how many people handle your food, how much time your food is sitting on a shelf or in a truck, and you actually decrease the risk of your food expiring too soon or picking up a bacterium along the way. Fresh, local food tastes good, feels good, and does the body good.

These ideas are only a few ways you can “go green” for Earth Day, or any day for that matter. Sometimes small steps towards living an environmentally friendly life can make a big difference.

Leave a comment below to tell us how you’re helping the environment!

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