Category Archives: Tips

Making The Most Of Winter Break

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations, Tips, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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 Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

This is my fifth winter break from college, and I’m prepared to make the most out of it. When I first started college, I didn’t value the break as much as I do now as a senior coming off of an 18 hour day semester. The main thing to remember is that this is your break, so do some things for you!

Here are a few suggestions for how you can make the most out of your winter break:

1. Spend Time With Family

I know this isn’t applicable to everyone because we don’t all live close to our family, but now that I’ve moved back to Texas, I’ve realized how important it truly is to spend as much time as possible with them. Life is incredibly short and semesters are incredibly long, so take some time to get some quality time in.

2. Have Some Alone Time

As important as it is to spend time with the people you love, I’m a big believer in spending time alone too. I frequently have “me” dates at the movies, or at a good dinner. Being alone to be peaceful with your thoughts and to do something you enjoy can be very calming (which we all can need at the end of a semester). This gives you time to regroup, recoup, and relax.

3. Do Some Reading

This has turned into a tradition of mine, and one that I cherish. Every year before winter break begins, I pick one novel that I’m going to read. I’m not a huge reader, so I set my goal realistically with just one book. It’s a great way to keep your brain active, and a great way to make sure you aren’t glued to the TV all break. This year my novel is Animal Farm (for the third time). This also allows me to remember the entertainment in reading, and not to just think of reading as “studying” or homework.

4. Volunteer

During the last four of my winter breaks, I have always gone and worked at the homeless shelter for a few days. This year, I will be working a lot so I figured out another way to give back to the community. I collected unwanted purses and backpacks from friends and family and filled them with essentials (toothbrush/paste, deodorant, snacks, etc.). I now keep them in my car to hand out to any homeless people I may see over the break!

These suggestions are just a few things that I like to do during my break. But, like I said, this is YOUR break. You have to figure out what you can do to make the most out of it because before you know it, we’ll be back in class.

What are you doing this winter break? Share with us in a comment below!

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Home for the Holidays: Unexpected Challenges

Filed under: College Life, Living, Seasonal Celebrations, Social Life/Relationships, Tips - Angelina
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Cameron Tranchemontagne BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

For many students, coming home for the holidays and winter break is a welcome reprise from the pressures of college. You get to eat home cooked meals, sleep in late in your own bed, and see old friends. However, students sometimes don’t realize until they get home that their expectations might not reflect reality. Being away from home for so long can make one forget their parents’ rules and expectations. Clashes between a student’s college lifestyle and the structures of home life are bound to happen.

Conflicts may arise over sleeping habits. There are few things more relaxing than sleeping in an extra hour or 2 than you normally would. However, it isn’t unreasonable to get up on time to help with chores or do a favor. Staying up late can always cause anxiety in parents, especially if you’re out of the house somewhere with friends. If your parents like to enforce a curfew consider discussing it with them to set it at a reasonable time for you to still have time to have fun and exercise new-found freedoms and responsibilities.

You may have also developed some sloppier habits while living in your dorm room. Generally, when you are home you’ll have to actually clean up after yourself, which is completely reasonable when you’re living in your parent’s or anyone else’s home. There are studies that say having a clean space can help improve your overall mood, which will improve your approach to everything from studying to getting along with your family at home. It is okay to be a little messy in your own room but the key is to not let it get so bad that it gives your mom a heart attack if she opens your door. If things start to smell, it is probably a good time to clean up.

You may have an enhanced social life now that you’ve been on your own for a while. Going out with friends all day or night is definitely fun but you should find a balance between going out with friends and socializing with family. Understand that no matter how much you enjoy being on your own, your family hasn’t seen you for weeks or months and they probably miss you. No matter how much you clash at home, they love you and want you to succeed. They deserve some of your attention too. Conversely, you probably have lots of friends in your hometown who miss you too and want to hangout before they go back to school for months. It can be hard to balance your social life back home, but it’s not impossible. Consider inviting your friends along if you’re doing something with the family.

Harmony at home is about compromise. Both the parent and the student need to recognize the expectations of the other and find a way to meet in the middle on most of them. Open and clear communication is one way to mitigate this. Keep talking to your parents. Let them know your plans and find out what theirs are. You must remember that right now is a transition time for you and your parents. You are a young adult learning responsibilities and individual freedom, but that may not always be easy for your parents to understand. Do respect their rules, but make sure you communicate honestly if you feel you are being treated like a child.

It’s always great to come home, but do remember these unexpected challenges!

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Rejoice: Rewarding Yourself After Finals!

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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Serena Piper BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Most college students right now are probably stressing out, studying crazy hours, drinking enormous amounts of caffeine, and losing precious time for sleep. Why? FINALS.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, finals may not be as stressful for you as it can be for other students. When I was attending school, the only classes I wasn’t worried about finals for were classes having to do with my major since the material came naturally. They were one less final to worry about, and one less thing to study. But for other classes, ones I wasn’t so naturally great at, I worried. I worried so much that when finals were finally over, I was mentally exhausted. The one thing I gave myself to look forward to for completing finals was to reward myself. And you should too when you’re done with finals!

Rewards, no matter how small, are a great source of motivation. You might be surprised at how efficient you can be if you have something to look forward to after completing a task. If you’ve worked hard, you deserve a break and to treat yourself!

Here are a few ways you can relax and reward yourself after finals:

1. Treat Yourself

Normally I’m not one to use food as a reward, but during finals week, I would reward myself with Caramel Apple Spices from Starbucks for each final I completed. Needless to say, my sweet tooth was happy! You can try frozen yogurt, ice cream with all your favorite toppings, or even just a juicy burger from a local diner.

2. Movie Marathon

Are there movies out in theaters you’re hoping to see? When finals are over, make a day of it and buy tickets to each one so you can see one right after the other! Bring along some friends to make it extra special.

3. Relax and Rejuvenate

The beach is one of my favorite places to unwind and relax. I find listening to the waves and feeling the sand between my toes really loosens me up if I’ve been feeling particularly stressed or stretched with work. Bring a journal or a book and some music, set up a blanket with a picnic, and relax for the afternoon. If the beach isn’t an option due to weather, then find another place you like to relax.

4. Retail Therapy

Who doesn’t secretly have something they’d like to splurge on? Whether it’s a pair of boots that cost a bit more than you’d normally spend, a flashy watch, or a cozy leather jacket – chances are if you walk through any store, you’ll find something that catches your eye. Or, during one of your study breaks, scan your favorite store online and pick out something you’ll really look forward to when it arrives.

5. Simple Works Too

If all else fails, your reward can simply be a cat nap and then waking up to a great book you’re dying to finish. Hey, we’re college students! Sleep holds its own value now too!

Good luck students on finals season! You will do great!

Share with us in a comment below how you reward yourself after completing finals.

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5 Things to Know About Savings Accounts

Filed under: Living, Money/Budget, Tips - Angelina
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Megan Lehman BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

Learning personal finance and how to take care of your money is extremely important, especially as a college student. Learning how to manage money now will save you time and money in the future. Thanks to these tried and true tips, I am going to graduate with very little student debt!

Here is what you should know about savings accounts:

1. Know the Different Kinds of Accounts

There are multiple forms of savings accounts, some better than others. By that, I mean they allow you to save more by the amount of interest they acquire.  Some of these accounts, however, have very specific requirements and require certain commitments, such as amounts left in the account at all times. Do some research and figure out your best options.

2. Picking An Account

When it comes to picking which account to open, it is important to consider where you are financially at this point in your life. If you work part time hours, like 5-10 hours a week, the basic savings account is for you. If you work full time, without many expenses, and have the ability to put a larger chunk away, open a CD or a MMA. These two accounts give the most interest and are two accounts to pay attention to.

3. CDs vs. Money Markets

These two savings accounts give the account owner the most return with interest. However, they require more of a commitment. CD (certificate of deposit) accounts require a time commitment during which no money can be withdrawn from the account, but can be added. The time commitment can be anywhere from six, twelve, or even twenty four months and require at least $100 to open.  Money market accounts (MMAs) require at least $1,000 to be in the account at all times. The owner can only withdraw from the account six times a month. I know that sounds like a lot of money, but this account will earn you more interest than any other account available at this time. Currently, CDs are not earning much more interest than the basic savings account. I would advise waiting until you can put away $1,000 and start a personal money market account.

4. Be Aware of the Fees

The money market account restricts the owner of the account from withdrawing from the account more than six times in a one month period. There are multiple accounts similar to this and it is important to understand the fees resulting from withdrawing too many times. There may even be regular monthly fees just to have an account, although sometimes there are certain requirements that can be met to waive these fees. Each bank is different.

5. Take Advantage Now

As a college student, I understand the struggle to save money. Currently, as an unpaid intern in Washington D.C., I understand the struggle even more intensely. Right now, no matter where you are in your college career, it is important to start thinking about a budget and savings. Recognize the timing in your life. Imagine what you could retire with if you started a 401k now? I started my 401k when I was 19 and, if I continue at the rate I am at, will be able to retire early.

Also, look at what you’re spending and what you can cut to save some extra cash. I choose to save now so I can graduate with as little debt as possible. By following these tips and learning more about which savings account is right for you, you can too.

Good luck!

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There’s An App For That: College Studying

Filed under: All Things Tech, College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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Megan Lehman BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

It is not a secret that technology can be a great resource for studying for any student.  What may be a secret to you, however, is which apps are really worth your time and are helpful.  There is so much out there and it can be extremely time consuming picking out just what works for you.

Check out these tested, tried, and true apps that have worked for me and can definitely work for you too!

1. Quizlet

Quizlet has been my saving grace during the last few semesters.  This app allows you to create flashcards for any topic.  Once your flashcard set is created, you have the option of turning the flashcards into a self-grading quiz or playing games that help you study.  What I love most about this app though, is that you can type the flashcards on your computer, and then open the app and study on your phone or tablet.  I like to have the website open during lecture and discussion so that I can type in the flashcards as I go and study them on the app as I walk to my next class. Did I mention that this app is free?

2. Complete Class Organizer

Complete Class Organizer does not help you study, but what it does is just as important.  Keeping track of everything you have to do between 4 or 5 classes, extracurricular activities, and work is hard enough.  Let this app be your personal organizer.  While I have not used this app personally, 3 of my closest friends swear by it and it is definitely on my list of apps to download for this spring semester.

3. Mindjet

Putting together any research project takes a lot of time.  Trying to figure out how to organize all that information can add even more time on to that. Mindjet (iTunes/Droid) helps you take all that information and organize it in a way that makes sense.  As I wrote my honors thesis last spring semester, I cannot express how valuable I found this app to be. If you are tackling any research papers or projects, this app is for you!

4. RefMe

That research work will most likely need a bibliography or reference sheet as well.  If you need a quick reference, use RefMe (iTunes/Droid). Simply scan the barcode of the book and the app creates the reference for you!  This app is pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself.

5. Grammarly

This amazing tool is both an app and a website.  Do you have a question on whether or not a sentence is grammatically correct? Or would you like to run your essay through a quick grammar check without heading over to the writing center? Grammarly is for you. I recommend this app to all college students at every level of writing. I have been using this for years and it has never let me down once.

As finals are quickly approaching, these apps should help you stay on top of studying and help you ace those exams! Good luck and happy studying!

Share any of your favorite study apps with us in a comment below!

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