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Top 4 Tips for Parents of College Students

June 1, 2018

The process of going to college can be cumbersome for both parents and students. Students have to adapt to living life on their own and adhere to a strict study schedule while parents have to allow their student their freedom and independence. As with most things in life, there are Dos and Do-Not’s. Let’s explore how to best transition to this new and exciting phase. 

Don’t: Decorate the Dwelling 

We know that picture wasn’t hung using a level, but that’s ok! Your student’s new residence is their home base. Try not to make any adjustments; especially in the first few semesters. As a freshman, your student is going through many life-changing events such as: building new friendships, stressing over intense studies, long lecture hours, and copious amounts of delicious dining hall decisions. It’s only fair that they have their personalized space where they can ease up and relax from the stressors at college.

Do: Prepare Your Parting Phrases

The final words between you and your student are significant in the college life. It is essential to share comforting words that express care and concern. Simple phrases along the lines of,  “I’m behind you,” “I’m proud of you,” and “I love you” will be lasting memories and sure to keep them going on tough days. 

Don’t: Solve All of Their Problems 

As a parent, when a problem arises it is only natural to attempt to intervene and assist. It’s important to let your student take the responsibility of solving their own problems before offering support. This will help them become self-reliant and self-sufficient as they continue into adulthood. When needed, universities provide resident advisors and guidance/counseling officials who are trained, experienced, and well equipped to handle any problem that may arise in a college setting.

Do: Embrace the Experience

When your student leaves for college, they may leave a void in the family structure. It may seem fun at first; especially for the siblings who desire more space, attention, and affection.  However, for the parents, rekindling that relationship can be a demanding activity. As time goes by, the family may begin to miss the present. Thankfully, technology has come a long way and you can still have your student join you for Sunday night family dinners via FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Skype. Despite their lack of a physical presence, your student may invite the fun new ways to be present during family traditions.

At GradGuard, both students and parents are our top priority and we are dedicated to helping students and their families in any way that we can. With our GradGuard Renters and Tuition Insurance, we leave little for parents to worry about when their students go off to college. Be sure to have the proper insurance coverage, as it can assist with keeping your mind at ease. Learn more about our insurance offers on our website.

About the Author: Maria is part of the community outreach team at Edu Aid. Maria is passionate about ongoing education at all ages, and when isn’t learning new things is a keen walker and cyclist and can be found exploring.

Career Other

5 Hobbies in College That Can Make You a Better Employee

May 17, 2018

Presumably, you are working your head off in college to graduate with a high GPA and hopefully land a well-paying job. That’s great, but did you know that the activities you engage in while in college can improve your experiences as an employee in the future? A recent study revealed that people who engage in creative hobbies were more productive and innovative at their workplaces. That said, below are some hobbies that will make you better in your work:

Community Work

Of all the things you do in college, nothing is more satisfying than working with your local community as a volunteer, unpaid worker or facilitator of charity events. It might not provide much in terms of monetary gains, but you learn some coordination and leadership skills, not to mention the goodwill that you get from the community. Essentially, you gain a new perspective from which to approach life.

Playing Musical Instruments

Regularly practicing and playing musical instruments is a rewarding undertaking that admittedly comes with ups and downs. Sometimes, you will think that you’ve learned enough keys to play the piano, but the next time you play, you suddenly happen to forget your steps. Through the disappointments and false starts, however, you develop traits such as self-discipline, ability to withstand failure, and learn persistence. These traits, as renowned businessman Panos Panay noted, make very successful entrepreneurs.

Writing

Writing is one of those activities that require you to be alert, creative and focused at the same time. It’s also a way of expressing yourself and releasing tension and feelings of anger. Writing regularly can make your brain more creative as you try to find topics to write about and the words to use. The advantages of writing as a hobby do not end at the workplace, however, as creative writing skills are still needed in college. This is more so when tackling topics that require critical thinking and good writing skills such as qualitative research essays and cause and effect paragraph topics.

Physical Exercise

Regular physical exercise is a great way to, not only get your body in shape and your health in check, but to also keep your mental health on track. The mental benefits of exercise which are relevant to your work performance include reduced stress and tension, improved concentration, feelings of satisfaction, and high self-esteem. When you’re feeling good about your body and have more energy, it will be reflected in your work performance. Your relationships with your colleagues and superiors will also improve, and thus you will be able to achieve more. Getting involved with exercises while still in college is a great way to cultivate a long-term habit that is beneficial to your physical, mental, and social health.

Reading

As a student, reading is a routine activity that’s seen as boring by most. Yet, reading lots of non-academic books or literature can be a source of fresh ideas, new knowledge, and perspectives. Reading different types of books further expands your knowledge bank and helps you see the world as the authors saw it. Depending on the genre that you read, you might even get a few useful tips on improving your job performance or getting better grades in college. If you listen to the most successful people in business and the world, including Former President Obama and Warren Buffet, they all admit being zealous readers and for a good reason.

There is really no sure way of being a good employee or finding a job. It’s all a matter of doing the things that work (like the tips above), and the results will come with time. Some of the hobbies named, like exercising, may be hard or expensive to start but as long as you are determined, they are very doable.

Which of your college hobbies has helped you be better at work? Share with us below.

Are you interested in seeing if your hobbies are making a difference in the workplace? Want to learn more about insurance? Consider joining us! GradGuard is currently hiring for summer interns. Come be apart of a team that is infectious, exciteful, and always welcoming of new faces. Email your resume to careers@gradguard.com today!

Unable to intern? No problem! We are currently figuring out projects for our summer team to work on!

Take our survey and let us know what you would like to see from GradGuard’s summer team.

 

Bio: Jake Lester is an essay writer that is fond of writing about various spheres of life. The most recurring themes he covers are education, writing, and marketing. He has his own writing style and this is why he is appreciated by readers. You may look through Facebook, Twitter & Google+.

Career Other

To Infinity and Beyond: How Technology is Changing Education

May 9, 2018

Education by nature is ever-evolving. What students are required to learn changes as society progresses. Technology is advancing the way students are educated both in and out of the classroom. In recent years, laptops and tablets have redefined the dynamic within the classroom. Similarly, online courses have made it easier to study for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to. So, how exactly is technology changing education in 2018 and beyond?

Computers in the Classroom

The widespread introduction of laptops to classrooms has become the cornerstone of modern education. Personal laptops or tablets give students the opportunity to access vast amounts of information in a more productive manner. Because of this, schools are beginning to shift away from teaching students about specific skill sets. Instead, they focus on teaching students how to learn and think critically for themselves.

Each student learns in a different way and at a different pace. This new technology makes it easier to pinpoint the exact area in which the students are struggling. Teachers are able to recognize these traits and utilize different technological platforms to reach more students and ensure success. 

Online Courses for Offline Success

Online courses have changed the way students have been able to get certificates, diplomas, and degrees. An ever-growing population of students are opting for online courses to fit their scheduling needs and provide the opportunity to those that otherwise would not have been able to attend a course. For example, in 2011, a Stanford University professor changed education forever when he put his Artificial Intelligence course up online for free. This resulted in over 160,000 students from 190 countries enrolling in the course.

Since then, online education has come a long way. Education providers like Upskilled now offer over 100 course options, and people can now study wherever and whenever it suits them. People like busy mothers, full-time workers, and those in remote locations can now access education resources without disrupting their everyday lives.  

AI is the Future

Artificial Intelligence is a looming technology that is on the verge of changing every industry ranging from logistics to education. AI could change education on a major scale, making one-on-one tutoring much more accessible. AI in education might have more benefits than you initially think.

For example, the U.S. Navy has used an AI-based tutoring system called Education Dominance. The AI, which acts similar to a human tutor, monitors student’s progress and provides personalized assessments in an entry-level IT school in Pensacola. The Navy found that “in all trials, the graduates using the Digital Tutor dominated, often by margins that were described as ‘huge’.”

Such instances of AI give a glimpse into the future possibilities technology can bring to education. As technology is consistently evolving, new innovations pop up every day. As technology is becoming increasingly instrumental in a college student’s success, it is crucial to keep your important electronics protected and covered by GradGuard Renters Insurance. We at GradGuard are not only committed to protecting your most valuable items but also pride ourselves on our technology-based platform. Nearly everything can be done online by visiting GradGuard’s website. Use our technology to protect your technology today!

 

About the Author: Cassie Phillips is a lifelong learner with a focus on internet securities and cybercrime. She spends her days blogging about online safety and what can be done to prevent data theft, identity theft and general sabotage.

Adulting Other

5 Tips For Selling Back Your Textbooks

May 8, 2018

Starting a new semester of school can be exciting; until reality sets in when you get the bill for your textbooks. Luckily, students have numerous options. One thing to keep in mind is that your textbooks can be sold back at the end of the semester in order for you to recoup some of your costs. What do you need to know about selling textbooks to make the most of the experience?

  1. Take care of your textbooks. To maximize potential payout, ensure you are maintaining the condition of your textbooks throughout the duration of the semester. Avoid folding pages or marking in the books with pens or highlighters. When you want to note or remember information from your books a best practice would be to utilize sticky notes or tab markers and coordinate them with digital notes. 
  2. Sell at the right time. The sooner you try to sell your book, the better. Why? When you sell back your book as soon as the semester is ending, you take advantage of the prime buying season. Additionally, you minimize the chance that a class has switched to a different book or more updated version. 
  3. Compare buyback prices at multiple resources. The web is filled platforms in which to sell back your books. Since it only takes a few minutes to shop online, why not compare buyback rates at various sites? Explore the current going rates on specific textbooks, looking at various book-selling sites, and then you can rest easy that you’re getting a good price. You wouldn’t purchase the books without comparing prices, why would you sell them? 
  4. Ask around. Your roommates, friends or fellow students may be willing to cut out the middleman and buy back your book directly — especially if it saves them money from the bookstore rates.
  5. Consider renting. At the beginning of a new semester, some people will be pressed for time or money and need a book fast. Let them rent your book for the course duration with the condition that you receive it back at the end. This creates the potential for a profit due to recurring revenue on one textbook. On the downside, you have to ensure that you receive the book back at the end of the semester. 

Selling your textbooks online is a smart way to stretch your budget and save money on schooling. When your next semester is ending, use the above tips to get the best buyback rates!

Now that your books are taken care of and summer is on the way, why not protect your most important belongings? GradGuard is one of the leading renters insurance companies on the market and prides themselves on catering directing to students with their student endorsement. GradGuard provides worldwide personal property coverage for college students! So whether you’re traveling to another country this summer or just going to another state with your family, consider being covered by GradGuard today!

 

Author bio: Woody Hunt, VP of Marketplace
Woody Hunt has been involved in building software solutions for the book industry since 2003. His major projects include the BookVolume online sourcing platform and Skyo e-commerce site, which have driven a combined transaction volume exceeding $100 million. Hunt sold his business, Wobo Inc, to Follett in March 2016. He is now VP of Marketplace at Follett, a parent company of
ValoreBooks. He is currently responsible for aspects of the Follett Marketplace division.

Career Other

Promising Career Paths for International Students

April 27, 2018

The world has become a global village in the last two decades, which makes international travel and communication easier than ever. Globalization motivates more and more students each year to go abroad and get a foreign degree. Today, there are over 500 thousand international students in the US alone.

Many students return home, but some are willing to stay in the country post-graduation. If you are one of those college graduates, it would be beneficial for you to get to know the labor market and prepare for your future career. In this article, we’ll show you the most promising careers international students should consider.

How To Prepare For The Job Search

According to HR specialists at Aussie Writings, you should get some initial experience before pursuing a full-time position in your desired field. This way, you’ll make sure that the position you pick fits your personal interests and skills. There are 4 basic ways to explore interesting occupations:

  • Career planning: Visit the career planning office to learn about trending industries at your university.
  • Training: Apply for the professional training course provided by a local company.
  • Volunteer: This is a resume booster showing that you are passionate about something that doesn’t make you money. This is something that many companies look during the hiring process.
  • Internship: It can provide valuable insights into day-to-day activities of a company. Instead of diving in head first, you can test the waters.

Careers In The IT Sector

With the rise of the Internet, jobs related to new technologies experienced a huge breakthrough. The IT sector is the fastest-growing labor market, while the average salary of an IT specialist is more than $62 thousand per year. Computer technologies generate the biggest number of profitable positions. Here are some of the best career options in this industry:

  • Software Developer: It seems as if an entire world depends on digital tools, software, and apps. Every device, vehicle, or machine needs special programming and that is why software developer takes the number one position on our list.
  • Computer System Analyst: Computer system analysis is more complex than software development. All companies, however big or small, already need to integrate and synchronize their programs. With the emergence of the Internet, computer system analyst jobs will experience further expansion.
  • Big Data Specialist: You’ve probably heard that more data has been produced in the last two years than during the entire history of human civilization. This gives companies a lot of unstructured information to process, which is impossible without help from big data specialists. Since businesses want to make data-driven decisions, you could capitalize on this trend.
  • VR Designer: Augmented and Virtual Reality (VR) is the latest talk of the town. The total number of active VR users already reached 171 million globally and the demand is growing.
  • Blockchain Developers: Bitcoin caused mass cryptocurrency hysteria in the previous three years. Even though digital coins are based on the blockchain, the new technology has many more applications – from IT and banking to cybersecurity and communication. In such circumstances, we definitely recommend the career of a blockchain developer.

Promising Occupations In Other Industries

IT rules the modern business, but it doesn’t mean that other industries are any less attractive for international students. On the contrary, there are a lot of promising professions recommended below:

  • Digital Content Creator: Content creation is the most influential segment of contemporary marketing. As a result, the demand for digital content producers is exponentially growing.
  • School Teacher: Remember that amazing teacher you had growing up? You could be one of them! If you are bilingual, you would be a great asset to the school system as well as likely have increased compensation. High School teachers are projected to see an employment growth of 8% until 2026. Getting your foot in the door now is a promising opportunity. Many schools have higher compensation for bilingual applicants.
  • Genetic Engineer: It may sound scary but genetic engineering is our future. If you enjoy medicine, molecular biology, and similar sciences, perhaps you should look into a position as a genetic engineer.
  • Mechanical Engineer: Robotics and 3D printing are breathing a new life into mechanical engineering, so this profession is now attracting a lot of international students. The median salary is not bad – it’s just below $69 thousand a year.
  • Health Service Manager: New technologies are changing traditional healthcare systems, causing numerous medical, legal, and regulatory changes. Health service managers must help hospitals and other medical facilities to adapt to those changes. With the future of healthcare everchanging, this is a vital job in today’s society.

Ready To Start The Job Hunt?

Starting a career in a new country can be daunting, but your school’s career center is a great reference and support system to alleviate any nerves. Whether you’re a new grad or an incoming freshman, we strongly recommend meeting with an advisor and planning ahead as soon as you can.

Are you in the Phoenix area looking to gain experience in higher education, finance, social media, standard business operations, and more? GradGuard is presently hiring for 2019 Summer Interns. Please e-mail your resume to careers@gradguard.com. You may also visit our Facebook page to view the job description.

Adulting Other

How Can You Live Well While Paying Off A Student Loan?

April 10, 2018

Approximately 44.2 million Americans have student loan debt, with the average monthly payment being $351. Whether you’re still studying or you’ve completed your education, chances are you’re stressed out about having to pay off your student loan. You probably fear not being able to progress in life and enjoy milestones because you’re saddled with debt. For example, how will you buy a house, take out a mortgage, pay for health insurance, or start a family? While these are stressful considerations, your student loan doesn’t have to take over your entire life. There are ways to thrive while paying it off in the most efficient way.

Focus On Priorities

What’s important to you? Is it buying a new car or moving out of the city? Is it following an active lifestyle or having a great social life? When you focus on what your priorities are in life, the money you have after paying your monthly student loan can go towards them. That obviously means, however, that you’ll have to cut down your expenses elsewhere. It’s all about compromise and a bit of sacrifice, but if you know where you want your money to go, you’ll still be having a good, positive life because you’ll be funding what’s most important to you. Remember that it’s not so much how much you spend that makes you happy but the experiences you “purchase.” Research by Cornell University found that people are happier when they have experiences, rather than when they buy material goods.

Save For Retirement

Research conducted by Bankrate found that over half of people between the ages of 30 and 49 with student loans have postponed a life event such as getting married because of their debt and the desire to save for their retirement. It feels especially difficult to focus on saving for retirement when you’re trying to eliminate student loan debt. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to save for retirement while paying off student loan debt. These include focusing on your life goals and cutting costs, but there’s something else you can do that’ll make a big difference. While you’re tempted to kill off your student loan debt quickly, slowing it down can help you free up some of your finances so that they can go to retirement savings. Try to save 10 percent of your income every year and put it into a retirement savings account. When you earn more money, increase that amount to 15 and even 20 percent.

Don’t let student loan debt become an obstacle in your life path. If you want to get married, think creatively about how you can do so without letting student loan payments suffer. For instance, consider a low-budget wedding instead of a grand occasion that can easily notch up thousands and thousands of dollars and put you further into debt.

Consolidate Your Student Loan

If you’re battling to pay off your student debt while studying, consider consolidating the debt. What this means is that you’ll combine many loans into one, giving you the opportunity to pay one sum monthly and have one interest rate. This will increase your interest amount because you’ll be paying the loan for a longer time, but it definitely makes payments more manageable. Consolidating your student loan is, therefore, a good financial option. When you start earning more money after finishing your studies and getting a full-time job, you’ll be able to increase the amount that you pay.

If you’re really strapped for cash, switch to what’s known as an income-driven student loan repayment plan. How this works is that student loan repayments will take a bite out of your income. This means you’ll earn less money, but you’ll also pay less. A benefit of it is that it helps you eliminate monthly payments quickly while allowing you to use the rest of your income on living your life.

Don’t Skimp On Insurance

Health insurance is a common worry for recent graduate students, with a poll by AgileHealthInsurance.com finding that up to 72 percent of students battle to afford medical aid coverage. However, you never know when you’ll need emergency health care, so maintaining health insurance is important. Luckily, there are options available to you. One of these is to keep yourself healthy with regular checkups with your doctor. Preventing illness as much as you can by doing that as well as leading a healthy lifestyle goes a long way to ensure you stay out of a hospital.

But it’s not enough to keep you safe. You never know when something will happen, such as an injury or accident. That’s where “catastrophic coverage” comes into play. It won’t cover all your health needs, but it will cover the big ones you can’t control. By having an insurance plan with a higher deductible amount and a high lifetime maximum, your monthly premiums can drop quite a bit, sometimes by several hundred dollars. So, while you won’t have enough money at your disposal for regular, routine healthcare, you will have a decent amount of out-of-pocket funds if you’re confronted by life’s curveballs.

You Can Qualify For A Mortgage

You’ve found a great place to live, but you’re worried that your student loan will get in the way of you getting a mortgage. It doesn’t have to! Your mortgage lender will check your front-end ratio and back-end ratio to determine how much you can afford to pay a mortgage. Front-end ratio is when you divide monthly mortgage payments by your gross monthly income. Your back-end ratio is when all your debt payments are combined and compared to your income. Your monthly debt payments – for your student loan and other debts – are added up and then divided by your gross monthly income. This will give your lender an idea of how much you can reasonably pay.

The best thing you can do to qualify for a mortgage is to have a good credit score. You can do this by making all your debt payments on time every single month. You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually and can order it online at annualcreditreport.com.

Paying off student loan during and after your studies can be stressful. But there are ways to continue living a healthy and financially secure life. It’s also worth bearing in mind these stats from a Student Loan Hero survey: while paying off student loans can be terrifying, almost 18 percent of respondents said the debt allowed them to gain greater confidence with money. So, consider the benefits that student loans can offer you. They might make you more financially savvy and teach you the best way to live your life.

Career Other

Push Through the Pack: How to Make the Most of Any Career Fair

April 3, 2018

Afraid of living in your parent’s basement until your 35? Good. You should be. What’d you spend all that money on going to school for if you don’t land a great job at the end of those four years? Okay, enough of the scare tactics. You’re smart, successful, ambitious, and full of drive, who wouldn’t want to hire you? Unfortunately, as you look around at graduation, you’re in a room full of people who are just like you. So how can you stand out?

Things like Career Fairs might seem kind of old school, but they are the best way for businesses to find the brightest young talent and snatch them up before they enter the job market. Here’s how you can break through with any business at any career fair:

The Social Scrub

One area that your parents probably can’t give you advice on is social media. When your dad got his first job no one was scouring through 2,000 tweets from freshman year of high school. When it comes to social media you want to make sure you are leaving the best version of yourself out there for a potential employer to discover.

The rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t show your mom a post then you should delete it. No employer (or mom for that matter) wants to see 40 photos of you with a red solo cup. Have some tweets out there that would cause a stir at the dinner table? Best to delete those, too. Only follow Barstool and Meme accounts? Try unfollowing them while you’re on the hunt. You’re only as clean as the content you keep.

Thinking of just locking everything up and making it private? Sure, you can do that, but what’s at risk? According to a study done by CareerBuilder, having a presence on social media matters. 44% of hiring managers stated that they found content on potential employees accounts that caused them to hire that person. Make your social accounts work for you and not against you.

Your Instagram Isn’t the Only Thing That Needs a Good Clean

Cleaning up isn’t only done on your cell phone. Your mom might not be there to make sure your dress shirts are ironed for the big day, but guess who is? A dry cleaner! Drop off your interview outfit to the nearest dry cleaner and let the professionals take over. A clean suit or skirt with a freshly ironed shirt will make you feel and look your best. No car? No problem. Thanks to companies like Bonobos wrinkle-free shirts are now a thing that exists. Keep one of those in your closet for when a recruiter is looking to do a follow-up interview and you don’t have a way to get to the dry cleaner!

Now that we’ve got the outfit covered, let’s talk face. When it comes to makeup, it’s best to keep it bright and fresh-faced. You want a recruiter to remember you and your face so when they head back to LinkedIn and look you up, your face pops right out at them! The same thing goes for the guys. Stop hiding behind the beard and let your face shine. Hoping to get a bunch of interviews lined up post-career fair? Invest in a razor subscription service like Harry’s to make sure you always have the tools on hand to clean up your look before meeting with an employer. While beards are much more accepted in the workplace now, it’s still good to let recruiters get a good sense of your face so they can recall it later when reading your resume.

It’s a Give and Take, Not Just a Take

As much as you’re trying to impress your future employer, they’re also trying to impress you.

Every business is interested in finding the best talent, and that means you! Remember that you have leverage in this situation as well, and you shouldn’t be afraid to use it.

A great way to stand out from your peers is to have some prepared questions that are really out of the box and will cause a recruiter to think before answering. Sure you can ask what the day to day is like, but why not dig deeper? Find out what kind of interaction leadership has with entry-level employees. Is there continued education? What systems are in place for innovation and bringing new ideas to the forefront? Doing your research before walking in the door can make a world of difference when it comes to first impressions.

Don’t walk away from a table until you feel you have a true understanding of the job and if you would be a good fit for it. So much of landing a job is about how you fit into a company and their culture, and a recruiter will only respect you more for understanding that and challenging the status quo.

Making a Memory

If you’ve managed to stand out from the crowd already, you’re 90% of the way there. Closeout strong by having a leave behind that will make a lasting memory on any future employer. Sure having your resume on hand is great, but how can you take it one step further? Whether it’s a digital resume, a pencil printed with your name and email, or a 3D printed business card, having something for a recruiter to take home with them that won’t get lost in a folder is a huge win.

Not the creative type? Keep it old school and send a handwritten thank you card the next day. Trust me, showing that you figured out how to buy stamps will impress any employer. Make sure to cater your note specifically to that recruiter and position so you can show your attention to detail and great listening skills.

Now that you’re basically ready to land a VP job at Google, get out there and make some connections! When it all boils down to it, the best way to stand out is by being the very best version of yourself.

Health Other

College Men Take Note: Testicular Cancer Awareness

March 21, 2018

College students have unique student health needs and risks.  Student health centers exist in part because they offer convenient treatment options and they also possess expertise related to college life.  Likewise, GradGuard aims to be an authority on the unique risks facing college students so this article is meant to identify a form of cancer that impacts young men.

We’ve all read the articles debating whether or not men should wear tight pants for the sake of their health, but all controversy aside, there are some unsettling realities currently surrounding men’s health. According to the American Cancer Society, cases of testicular cancer are on the rise. So far in 2018 alone, there have been 9,310 new cases of testicular cancer.

However, statistically speaking, the disease isn’t that common – 1 in 250 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime, with the average age at the time of diagnosis being between 15-34, an age range many college students fall into. Thankfully, testicular cancer is also highly treatable and the mortality rate is very low at about 1 in 5,000. However, the key here is early detection.

Here are a few ways to help keep yourself, your friends, and your family aware and proactive about their testicular and overall health. 

Help Break the Stigma
The fact of the matter is, most men are too nervous or uncomfortable when it comes to approaching their doctors (or anyone) about the subject, and this perpetuates a general lack of awareness about the disease. In fact, 60% of men simply don’t go to the doctor. The less men know and talk about their health, the less they’re able to take proactive steps toward keeping it intact.

In an effort to un-taboo the subject of testicular cancer and men’s health in general, the Testicular Cancer Foundation (TCF) has partnered with e-commerce brand Tommy John. The brand’s claim to fame is their down-to-earth approach to men’s issues, most notably how they market their ‘no adjustment needed‘ underwear line using humor and relatability.

“We constantly strive to [shine] a light where the sun doesn’t shine and respect anyone that does the same,” says Tommy John. “TCF’s fearless, some might say ballsy approach, to confronting testicular cancer is a surefire way of focusing the world’s attention to the danger that is unfortunately common in men aged 15-34.” This group of men is even less likely to go see a doctor, given that they’re generally the most healthy age group.

While testicular cancer is certainly no laughing matter, it’s important to make men feel comfortable and confident enough to talk about their own bodies without shame or embarrassment. If that means having to crack more ball jokes, then we’re all for it.

Know The Risk Factors

While the direct cause of testicular cancer is unknown, there are a number of risk factors that can increase your chance of developing the disease. These include:

● A family history of testicular cancer, or having previously had it before
● An undescended testicle
● Carcinoma in situ (CIS) of the testicle
● Being between the ages 15 and 34
● Race and ethnicity
● HIV infection

Learn more about what these risk factors entail from the American Cancer Society.

Check Yourself
Most men are also unaware of the warning signs of testicular cancer, but early detection is key. When caught early, testicular cancer has a roughly 95-99% survival rate. While there is no evidence to suggest that self-exams would result in fewer men dying from testicular cancer, many doctors agree that self-exams are the most effective method of early detection and should be performed once a month.

Generally speaking, the goal is to become familiar with the usual shape and feel of your testicles and to look out for any changes. The most common symptom associated with testicular cancer is the presence of a lump. You might also notice a change in the size of a testicle, or feel an ache in either your testicle or scrotum. It’s also best to perform your check while you’re in the shower because your scrotum will be most relaxed.

Take the time to educate yourself, check yourself, and start spreading the word.

Other Safety

Spring Break Tips from Packing to Protection

March 1, 2018

Spring break.  The much-needed college break.  If you are like many college students we know, you have just rushed thru mid-terms and are excited about a week with friends.  Yet – you haven’t given much thought to what to pack or what could go wrong.  So here are GradGuard’s tips for making the most of spring break.

Packing Efficiently

The key to packing smart is bringing reusable options.  Only bring multiples when necessary.  For instance, a weeklong spring break trip to a warm destination will require several swimsuits, as you’re not going to want to wear the same one all week.  However, you can save room by bringing bikini tops and bottoms that you can mix and match, creating more options without taking up extra room.  This same philosophy applies to the rest of your wardrobe.  Instead of bringing a completely separate outfit for each night you are going to go out on the town, bring pieces you can easily restyle.  

Remember The Little Things

There are several items which, if forgotten, can put a major kink in your travel plans. You may be able to buy them once you’ve arrived, but take the hassle out of your trip by remembering to pack them in the first place.  However, make sure you bring several forms of identification, cash, and your insurance cards. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but in case something happens, you need to be prepared and have necessary documentation with you.

Protect That Bag & Trip

Given the cost of travel and the stuff you have with you, it can be smart to also purchase travel insurance to cover the cost of your trip if you get sick or in some cases travel insurance can replace your baggage in the event it gets lost or stolen. Another option to consider is packing light and bringing just a carry-on, to eliminate the chances that your baggage will get on a plane to the wrong destination without you. If you do decide to check a bag, pack smart in your carry on – be sure to stash your essentials for the week in your carry on so if your bag does get lost, you’ll have what you need on hand.

Protect your stuff at home & while traveling

Of course, your parents will remind you about protecting your belongings in your hotel room and keeping a close eye on your purse.  But what about everything you’ve left back at college? Remember that renter’s insurance to help protect your things both on campus and beyond.  Purchase a renters insurance policy is smart for college students because it can protect your property both on and off campus – even when you are traveling.

Happy Travels!

Other Transition

2017 Graduation Gift Ideas

December 15, 2017

If you are looking for some original graduation gift ideas, here are some ideas that can provide a little inspiration if you’re stuck for ideas…

Make a Collage
Graduation gifts don’t have to be expensive; in fact, with a little bit of consideration, which will mean much more than the usual gifts you can find online. Grab some scrap paper and a gorgeous frame and make a collage of memories – from photos and ticket stubs to class notes and in-jokes. You can create something super special and in no time at all – just think outside of the box.

What About a Memory Book?
If you’d like to expand on the photo collage idea, make a memory book. Choose a lovely keepsake book and add all the things you’d have added to your photo collage – plus a little more.

Put Your Graduate in the Frame
Picture this: a frame for your graduate’s diploma could adorn the wall of their home for years. Make your gift one to truly cherish and show them how proud you are of her success. A unique gift idea, a specially-designed frame to hold her diploma is a simple yet stylish idea if you’re struggling to think of a lovely way to mark her graduation. Available in a range of different colors, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to picking out your favorite.

Does your graduate Love Scrabble?
If your graduate is a fan of the wordplay game, Scrabble, this gift idea – also from Etsy – will definitely hit the mark. Another fun present from Etsy, this frame features miniature wooden letters which can be personalized with your graduate’s name or diploma.

Whatever you choose to mark a graduation, be sure to add a personal touch to make it even more special.