Category Archives: Volunteering and Giving Back

5 Things To Start Doing In 2016

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

At the beginning of every year, most people spend time thinking about what they want to change in the new year. After reading several articles and reflecting on what has worked for me this year, I’ve put together a list of five things I think people (including myself) should start doing this year if they aren’t doing it already.

Why not make this year the best one yet? Start doing these things in 2016:

1. Grow Your Savings

As college students, we’re all aware of the struggle of handling our money. Some people are just better at it than others, I am not one of them. Last year I decided that instead of managing my savings account and depositing whenever I wanted, that I would setup automatic deposits. This has been life-changing for me. I never noticed the money gone, and it’s already added up greatly. For every paycheck, it automatically deposited $20. I also have saved any tip money I received at the end of the month from my job.

2. Find Your Relaxation

I feel like this world becomes more and more stressful each year, and each year I feel less equipped to handle it. I’ve been researching many different solutions and I think I’ve found a remedy for me. Over the past two months I have replaced soda with hot tea, which was mainly for weight loss reasons, but it has helped my emotional health tremendously. The most important thing to remember is that relaxation looks different for everyone. My relaxation is making myself a cup of tea, and either sitting in my yard, or rocking in the chair on my porch. Learn what calms you down and leaves you feeling happy, then remember to practice this often to reduce stress and increase your inner peace.

3. Read More

This is actually a goal of mine for 2016. I have read more this past year and picked up a book or two every now and then, but it’s my goal to read one book each month for this year. I remember how much I used to love reading, and how calming it was. I want to get back to that instead of filling my nights with Netflix. Reading is found to help in so many areas of your life including stress, happiness, creativity, and even your grammar! Visit www.bookrenter.com for some reading inspiration!

4. Volunteer

For most of us, our schedules can be almost maxed out to the limit. Adding another thing to it can seem impossible. Even still, I’ve decided for this next year that I’m going to overcome the impossible and set some time aside to volunteer at the local children’s center. I’m passionate about children, so it’ll be a great fit. Find what inspires you and you will see that it will seem less like a “chore” and more like another fun thing to do. If you really can’t give your time, get creative to think of how you can give back. A few weeks ago my friend and I had a “purse stuffing” party to stuff unwanted backpacks and purses full of everyday essentials to hand out to any homeless people we cross paths with. Imagine if everyone gave back just a little bit? It would make things just a little bit nicer, don’t you think?

5. Let Go Of The Negative

After a pretty rough year for me, it will be great to mentally refresh. If you’ve had a rough year too, or had a few bad instances, let go of any negative feelings and leave it behind in 2015. Make a decision to be positive going forward. This could even apply to negative situations you may find yourself in or people you hang out with – if you want to improve your situation, think of removing yourself from these scenarios. Use goals and daily motivational quotes to get you started, then it’ll become a routine. The past is the past for a reason, so get past it and look positively toward your future.

These five things are things that I’ve been working on for myself, and will continue to do in 2016. With how busy and stressful life can be, I think the most important thing to remember is to relax. Enjoy life and don’t worry about the small stuff!

Happy New Year! What change will you be making for 2016?

Leave a comment and let us know!

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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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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.

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.

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.

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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Dance Marathons: Giving Back

Filed under: College Life, Tips, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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Cameron Tranchemontagne Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

When I first heard of Dance Marathon coming to my college campus, I was hesitant to get involved. I have never really been the best dancer and dancing always feels uncomfortable to me. I figured I would still give it a shot so that I could at least represent my fraternity at a Greek hosted event.

I want to tell you that Dance Marathon is one of the best philanthropies you could ever participate in.

The purpose is to raise money for local children’s hospitals. Many of the families who rely on the children’s hospitals have huge bills sometimes the equivalent of paying for 4 years of college. By raising this money, you can help pay for the services the “miracle kids” need. Miracle kids are children with injuries, diseases, or disabilities who will often make appearances at the events with their families. The twitter handle/slogan for the philanthropy is #FTK which stands for For the Kids.

Yes, sometimes dancing can be awkward and uncomfortable. But when it is for such a worthy cause and everyone is participating it can be a lot of fun and the reward of helping these kids out is worth your time. It is $10 to register, and you can even donate more on top of that if you want to. The marathons can vary in time. Some go for 28 hours while the one at my school went for 6. We raised about $10,000 for the kids and some will even raise millions.

Make a team and get involved with your school’s upcoming dance marathon or you could even organize the event yourself. They give you all the steps to get involved on their website at: http://dancemarathon.com/GetStarted. You can also learn more about the cause and some of the kids featured on the website.

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Top 4 Things To Do This Summer

Filed under: Seasonal Celebrations, Tips, Travel & Abroad, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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Darlene Megino Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Summer break is a great time to relax and take a breather from a school year’s worth of stress! If you’re not planning on taking any summer courses this year, here are some top fun summer break ideas that you might enjoy!

1. Spontaneous Adventures

The school year is jam-packed with back-to-back study sessions, so take a break and have a spontaneous adventure. Have a good old-fashioned summer road trip but with a twist! Instead of mapping out all the spots you want to travel, pick an end destination and then find cool new attractions to visit using Bagonize. You can select destinations based on location, number of travelers, and budget! It’s extremely convenient when you’re trying to narrow down destinations based on your budget.

2. Tour Abroad

Most schools have their very own STA travel agency located on campus. You can always stop by and check out the various summer tours that students can take. If your school does not have one, you can check out their website for the latest travel promotions. Not only does STA travel help you out with tours abroad, but they also have information about working abroad, study abroad, and volunteer abroad programs!

3. Volunteer Work

Spend your summer volunteering in your field of study! You can find awesome volunteer opportunities at Volunteer Match. Just enter in your zip code and a few keywords to find the right volunteer opportunity for you. You can earn service hours for those of you who need hours to complete your senior seminars, or you can gain some useful experience in your field.

4. Recreational Classes

How about taking some recreational classes? Try some new dance moves, enhance your cooking skills, or improve your computer application skills. It’s a great way to meet new people and gain a new hobby or skill. Save some crash by signing up at a local community center or college.

Whatever you choose to do this summer break, have fun doing it. Whether you are traveling the world or hitting the books, make sure to squeeze in some relaxation time. This is your time to unwind before you begin another year full of study sessions and exams!

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