Tag Archives: Tips & Tricks

Boom Goes the Writing Tips

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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By BookRenter Andy

We recently polled the Facebook peeps to help us out with a question: what do the kids do these days for writing papers? Do people still write outlines? Just get right to it? Here are some of the responses:

I just put all the information i want to speak about on it, any ideas, any phrases or topics, quotes. then i reorganize and edit once i have my material. editing takes me longer than putting the info. i never write start to finish, i’m OCD so it would take me forever. – Hadissah

Hadissah has a good strategy here. The editing process is often the most difficult. Listen to Hadissah!

‎                1hour left, plz vote, plz, she needs to win this. she is almost tied with another person!!. plzz we need help..http://www.facebook.com/GoMagic1 plz like page, the like the pic. its for a friend http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=1460…

– Crystal

I included this quotation because I was entertained by the level of desperation in Crystal’s post. “plz vote plz plz plz plz”. HA! What could be so pressing? So I clicked the link, and it took me to a page of an Orlando Magic fan that was trying to win a photo competition for some free tickets or something. Did BookRenter Andy press “Like”? NO! We don’t support spam here at BR. ‘Nuff said. Thanks for the post though, Crystal.

No just get right to it. if you have writer’s block, try writing your name and class info first. – Thuan

Thuan, you da man. If you can beat writer’s block by “writing your name and class info”, I know the career for you – writing!

Hard At Work

Ok, now that we’ve gone over the responses, here are some writing tips from us, as well as some links from around the web:

1.      Write a draft! Writing is a process. The more drafts you put in the better it’ll be.

2.      Make sure you have a thesis (your argument). Develop your argument. Your paragraphs/sections of your paper will be facets of that argument.   Here is a link for thesis help: http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/thesis.html

3.      Have someone else proofread your paper. It needs another set of eyes. If you don’t have anyone else, read it aloud when you’re done to see if anything sounds funky.

4.      Format your paper! Professors or teachers will fall victim to good formatting (nice looking headers/footers, a good font, intutitive organization).  Here’s some MLA formatting guidelines. Don’t be afraid to add your own style, as long as it’s within reason! Link: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/

5.      Learn from the masters. Ask for help! Your professors should be happy to help. Here are some tips from famous writers. Link: http://www.writingclasses.com/InformationPages/index.php/PageID/269

Comment on our blog from now and until the end of November and be entered in to win one of our weekly coffee giveaways. Each winner will receive a $10 gift card, to one of the following: Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or TBD.  Winners will be chosen at random and announced each Wednesday.

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Mike’s Top 3 Time Management Tips For Writing Papers

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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Written by BookRenter Mike

“You have a tendency to overstate things.” Those are the words my Professor wrote to explain why he decided to give me a B on my paper. Why did I tend to do this you ask? The politically correct answer would be that I was trying to emphasize my point. But the real reason? Yep, I wrote my paper the night before it was due and was probably repeating myself in order to make sure I wrote enough pages. Sound familiar? Everybody does it, we all procrastinate and hate ourselves for it, but the cycle never seems to stop. In my opinion it’s about time to wise up, so here are my top 3 tips for practicing good time management when writing papers.

by English106

by English106

1. Write out an Academic Calendar with the due date of every upcoming assignment.

Although this may seem like a time waster, especially if you wait until the end of the semester, it will help keep you incredibly organized and focused. According to Kelci Lynn, “Write down everything in one place. The crazier your schedule gets, the more important this becomes.” Seems like great advice to me – I probably won’t wait to the last minute to write my next paper if I know I have a huge test the next day as well.

2. When writing your essay, make sure to keep track of time to ensure efficiency.

My roommate spent about 8 hours at the library last night and came back only to say, “I got nothing done; I’m never taking my computer again.” Often times we think we are being productive only to realize we just spent the last 30 minutes checking our e-mail. To fix this Michael Stelzner provides a great article about time management that includes a PDF spreadsheet designed to help keep track of your time. I guarantee you won’t be wasting your time filling a time tracker chart out.

3. When you say you are going to write your paper early, actually start it!

Mental toughness in the classroom is often talked about but never really focused on. Naturally it’s assumed that college students have strong self-discipline. But don’t worry; it’s OK if you have a hard time following through on your essay goals – just check out Mahanthi Bukkapaptnam’s article about developing self-discipline. His main piece of advice? Self-discipline should be built around positive thoughts (I could get an A on this essay if I start early) instead of negative thoughts (I better start soon or I won’t finish at all).

Bottom line: it’s OK to procrastinate a little bit as long as you do so efficiently. Just make sure you leave time for some sleep before finishing up that last concluding sentence.

Comment on our blog from now and until the end of November and be entered in to win one of our weekly coffee giveaways. Each winner will receive a $10 gift card, to one of the following: Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or TBD.  Winners will be chosen at random and announced each Wednesday.

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9 Healthy Eating Tips and Recipes

Filed under: Health & Fitness - BookRenter Team
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Written by BookRenter Briana

As the holiday approaches some of us start to worry about packing on the winter weight. Campus cafeteria food and dorm living (heavy influences of junk food lying around) make it hard for most college students to find healthy snack and meal solutions. Most of us are busy with school and it’s difficult to find quick recipes for our favorite comfort foods.  I’ve been there, and craved my favorite comfort foods. But there are smarter solutions out there for busy people who don’t have time to make a four-course-meal.

Here are some easy recipes and tips to help you:

  • Grilled cheese on wheat bread: Yes, many people would say yuck, but try it, it’s not that bad. Also pair it with a nice low fat cheese of your choice and you got yourself a healthy and filling meal.
  • Chicken lettuce wraps: Instead of doing a big juicy quesadilla, try cooking a real chicken breast and wrap it in lettuce with some low fat ranch. If you’re feeling bold try whole wheat tortillas (they do make those you know).  Dietsinreview.com has an easy chicken lettuce wrap on a whole wheat tortilla that looks Muy bien!
  • Dried fruit: This is a quick, on the go snack that is a lot healthier than a bag of chips or cookies, which is one of my favorite snack choices. But those are not the best for your body so try and swap it out. You can find this at any local grocery store and it comes in many different varieties.
  • Frozen yogurt: Ice cream is an all-time favorite comfort food. But we all know this is very high in calories. So instead of fatty ice cream, try frozen yogurt.  Literally take a non-fat yogurt and put it in the freezer. This is even cheaper than buying frozen yogurt and it reminds me of eating sherbet ice cream…it’s just not as soft.
  • Pita and hummus: Skip the chips and salsa and try this healthier alternative. And with the popularity of hummus comes multiple varieties of flavors so you’re bound to find a type you like.

Pita Chips & Hummus

Pita Chips & Hummus

  • Mac N’ Cheese: Cookinglight.com has a great article on some fast, easy comfort foods that won’t hurt the waistline. The Mac N’ Cheese looks pretty yummy and is a college favorite!

Here are some extra tips that may help you stay on a healthier diet:

  • After a late night of drinking, avoid the munchies and drink lots of water. This will curve your appetite for unhealthy snacking and help hydrate you for the next morning.
  • Be careful with your portions (This only applies if you fall off the healthy wagon. If you must eat the cafeteria food don’t load up more than your tray allows).
  • Try reading this: Sheila Buff at eDiets.com writes about healthier options for snacking and helpful tips to get on the right track.

What’s your favorite healthy snack?

Comment on our blog from now and until the end of November and be entered in to win one of our weekly coffee giveaways. Each winner will receive a $10 gift card, to one of the following: Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or TBD.  Winners will be chosen at random and announced each Wednesday.

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Dorm Room 101: How to Spruce up a Sheisty Dorm Room

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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Guest Written by BookRenter Andy

The first day you walk into your Freshman year dorm room is a memorable one. I remember mine – linoleum floors and a tiny bedroom with bunk beds. My roommate Mike had brought 4 giant plastic bathtubs full of junk and stuffed them under the bed. They were so large that he needed to put the bed on stilts in order to fit them under the bottom bed. As a result I woke up every morning with my nose a few inches from the ceiling, sniffing the old paint and wondering why I came to the New Jersey to go to college (it also didn’t help that my dorm and the surrounding buildings were built in the 1950’s to resemble a prison camp, no joke).

Which brings us to the topic of the day: How do you spruce up a sheisty dorm room? Let’s start with the immediate bed area, perhaps the dreaded top bunk. A friend of mine name “Cow Man” had a great idea Freshman year: make the top bunk into a hangout/fort area. Cow started by putting in a “corner” shelf to house books and a lamp – these are essential. Without a corner shelf, you’re nothing on the top bunk. Cow also surrounded himself with pictures of his friends on the top bunk walls, as if he was in a fairly land where all his friends hung out on the top bunk with him, as opposed to real life where he hung out on the top bunk by himself.

The key to happy dorm room living is all about organization. If you’re organized, you’re clean. If you’re clean, you’re happy, and you probably smell good.

Let’s start with the desk. First, wrangle up your cords. Gotta have wrangled cords. I’d also go out and buy a file cabinet of some sort. For all the loose-leaf you’ll acquire over the next four years. So now you’ve got your cords wrangled, your loose-leaf organized, toss your pens and such in the file cabinet, and you are ready to think about the look and feel of your space.

Mike and I created an “animal wall” freshman year, which mostly consisted of animal photos we’d cut out from our other roommate Jon’s National Geographic collection. It didn’t cost us anything, because we didn’t pay for the National Geographics – Jon did. Now that we have reached the end of my decorating skills here are a few places to check out;

DIY: 10 tips for decorating your dorm room, plus more ideas by Rana Cash

Delicious Dorms! College Dorm Room Decorating Ideas for a Delicious Dorm Life.

Dorm 101: Must-Haves for Dorm Room Organization Written by Ashley – Flagler College

Of course, this being the digital age, dorm room design is now possible from your computer. BookRenter Brianna, my colleague and desk neighbor, recently came across DesignYourDorm which can help you plan and design your college dorm. You can view a 3-D rendered image of what your dorm room looks like, then decorate it with REAL products from Amazon.com, which you can buy, if you like. No go out there and decorate your dorm room.

Comment on our blog from  now and until the end of November and be entered in to win one of our weekly coffee giveaways. Each winner will receive a $10 gift card, to one of the following: Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or TBD.  Winners will be chosen at random and announced each Wednesday beginning this Wednesday, Oct. 27th. Promotion Rules and Terms

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Top 3 Tips: Studying for Midterms

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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October. One of my favorite months filled with playoff baseball, outrageous Halloween parties, and of course great NFL and college football games! But October is also an incredibly bittersweet month because of one word: Midterms. I find myself sitting in the library on this Sunday night overloaded with work and trying to figure out how I am going to get by the next two weeks. My calendar reads two tests, two papers, one quiz, and three problem sets or in plain English “no sleep for you!”

However, as a 4th year at Virginia I’ve encountered this kind of killer stretch before and every time I seem to come out unscathed and surprisingly well rested. Although midterms aren’t easy they are manageable and as such here are some great tips from around the web that should help you score an A on your hardest test or at least make sure you wake up in time for your exam unlike my friend to the right!

1. Procrastination is your enemy not your friend: Everybody knows that procrastination is bad but yet everybody seems to do it. Let’s be honest, the best time to write a paper is the night before its due, right? Wrong! While you may think you’re performing better, all-nighters impede memory retention and help convince you that attending class is meaningless. So how can you avoid it? Luke Turcotte at Hack College wrote out 5 quick tips for avoiding procrastination and #5 on his list is “Just do it”. Hmm, I thought I was procrastinating because I didn’t want to do it? But seriously it’s a great list and will help you finish your assignments promptly and on time. (via http://www.hackcollege.com)

2. Distribute your studying time wisely and efficiently: Every teacher I have had since elementary school has preached to the class the importance of time management. Managing your time wisely is difficult at times because your schedule is in a constant state of flux and teachers are constantly assigning new material. But that’s OK, college students are incredibly adaptive and as Stefan Knapen notes must students “only study when it is needed”. According to Stefan, college students fall under 3 time distributions and knowing which category you are in will help you understand your study habits. Chances are you already practice good time management, you just don’t know it yet. (via  http://studysuccessful.com)

3. Find the best study spot besides the overcrowded library: First year students tend to forget that there are other spots to study besides the main library and it’s often a crucial mistake. Go off the beaten path just a bit and you’ll find study nooks that you didn’t think possible. Good places to start are law, business, and fine art libraries or search for empty classrooms that you can use for group study sessions. Don’t know what to look for in a good study area? Dan N provides a recipe for the perfect study session with the three main ingredients being lighting, comfort, and distraction. Maximizing comfort while minimizing distractions will increase memory retention and help you study quickly and more efficiently. (via http://collegethrive.com)

Chances are if you read this far you’re probably procrastinating from finishing an important paper or studying for a test. But that’s OK, relax! Although I have a tough two weeks ahead of me, all I can think about right now is that the San Francisco Giants are NL West Champions! Probably not the best way to study but hey, I’ve done this before and I’ll do it again just like you will. Good luck on your midterms and happy studying!

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