All Posts By

Guest Contributor

Career Transition

How to Get the Most Out of an Internship for a Future Career

November 30, 2020

Every student faces a hard reality after graduating — you have to have some kind of work experience to get a decent job. But how can students who’re spending most of their time studying get this experience?

The answer, often times, is through an internship.

This is a great way for students to practice their knowledge and gain new skills. Some students even manage to land a job at the same place they worked as interns.

In other scenarios, students get several internships at once. According to a report by Chegg, out of the average 60% of students who usually do internships in their class, 27% get two internships, and 13% do three.

With that said, internships are usually quite competitive, and it takes a lot of effort and even luck to land one. It means that you can’t afford to waste such an opportunity, and you need to make the most out of your internship.

So, here are a few practical tips on how you can take away as many benefits from your internship as possible to pave the way for a successful career.

Develop Connections

Building the network of connections is probably one of the most important parts of the internship because you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits from it in the long run.

In fact, getting useful connections is one of the things students want from an internship because if they form successful relationships within a company or an organization, their chances to stay and work there after graduation will be higher.

However, it’s not just about getting a job. Developing solid connections will also help you get the knowledge that no college could give you.

What can you do to build such connections?

  • Be friendly. Don’t shy away from conversations, participate in organizing events, and corporate parties. Even something as small as joining your co-workers for lunch can help develop a meaningful relationship with them.
  • Have a one-on-one meeting with your boss. At the beginning of your internship, ask your boss for a meeting, during which you could ask about their career path and the knowledge they had to get to be where they are. Such a conversation will help establish rapport and lay a solid foundation for a good relationship.
  • Always keep in touch. Even after your internship is done, make an effort to maintain the relationships that you formed because they can benefit you at any time when building your career.

In general, when applying for an internship, say that your goal is not just to learn, but also to build connections. Everybody in the business world understands the importance of that, and they will appreciate your openness.

Find a Mentor

An internship cannot be successful if you don’t get a mentor. This is the only way to get solid knowledge and start developing skills as you learn from someone who’s been in the industry for quite some time.

It doesn’t matter which internship you’re doing, getting a mentor is essential for your success. Even if you’re an intern in a foreign language school helping students learn Italian, try to spend as much time with a teacher assigned to you. Observe them, see which teaching methods they use, and then apply that knowledge.

So, before your internship, discuss the possibility of getting a mentor and explain why you need to have one. After all, you will need someone who will dedicate their time to guide you through all the processes, so this person needs to be prepared for that as well.

Ask for Feedback

If you want to get the most out of your internship and make this experience benefit your future career, you shouldn’t shy away from feedback, no matter whether it is good or bad.

Feedback can help you evaluate your achievements and see what else you can do and learn to improve your knowledge and skills. Whether it’s coming from your mentor or an average colleague, this feedback will help you grow as a professional.

Here’s how you can as for feedback in a correct and appropriate way:

  • Ask for regular meetings. Make sure that you discuss your achievements with your mentor on a daily basis and document every comment that you receive to see what you need to work on.
  • Make weekly feedback requests. Ask your mentor to give you weekly evaluations with both positive and negative feedback to objectively evaluate your work.
  • Ask for feedback from different sources. From time to time, ask for feedback from the company executives as well as other employees who could also give you some tips on how you can improve yourself.

Don’t be afraid of feedback because it’s also a valuable source of knowledge. Don’t outright reject it and try to look at it as a learning opportunity if you want to get the most out of your internship.

Takeaways

Everybody has different goals when getting an internship. Some obtain one just for connections, others want to learn something valuable. However, there’s always a common goal for everybody – to get everything they can from an internship.

Hopefully, these tips will help you do exactly that and lay the foundation for a successful future career.

BIO: Kate Khom is a passionate writer and blogger who likes sharing her thoughts and experience. Currently, she is working as a digital marketing specialist and develops online business branding, you can check her site. Feel free to contact her on LinkedIn.

Career

Tips for Writing an Interview-Winning Resume

November 28, 2020

Recruiters receive an ample number of applications. Chances are, they skim through resumes for only a few seconds. This means you need a killer CV to grab their attention in a blink of an eye.

Build a professional, concise, and well-tailored resume to market yourself and increase your chances of getting an interview. It bodes well to display your skills, experience, and education relevant to the position you are applying for. If you have difficulties to create a stellar resume, worry not, as help is just around the corner.

Follow this simple guide to help you perfect any application.

Research and Compare

  • Check out online sources and successful resumes examples in your field.
  • Research their content, structure, and length.
  • Compare different samples and adopt the most suitable practice.
  • Analyze the results of your research to produce a notable resume.

Choose Suitable Templates and Layouts

A clean-cut, outlined template is a must if you want to create an interview-winning CV.  Implement these tips and get ahead of the competition:

  • Use a resume builder platform to pick the most suitable design for your application.
  • Customize segments of the template to fit your needs, goals, and ideas.
  • Select a simple and elegant design that complements your presentation.
  • Avoid using vivid colors and complex graphics.
  • Dig into examples of professional resumes to benchmark and stand out.
  • Showcase your skills, experience, and education, not forms and colors. Presentation is essential for success, so work hard on that part.

Select a Proper Format

Candidates often make common mistakes in an effort to fancy up their CVs. A big one is to overdo it with the formatting. This error causes difficulties for the recruiters to sift out the information and find what they seek. Also, getting creative with formatting wreaks havoc for applicant tracking systems (ATS) and that might cost you the interview.

Thus, make sure your basic information, skills, and experience are easily found, not tucked away somewhere unexpected.

This way you show recruiters your professional attitude and that you’re qualified for the job. So, it’s good to choose one of these most common formats:

  • Chronological –  The most used format which ideal for applicants with rich employment history. Start with your most recent job and continue in chronological order. 
  • Functional –  A focal point is your skills and accomplishments is proper for entry-level candidates with less experience.
  • Hybrid – A mix between the previous two formats is suitable for higher-level positions.

Choose The Right Font

With a matter of seconds to display your qualifications for a position, every detail matters. To create a sense of style and professionalism, it’s important to put extra effort and consideration into your font choice. Recruiters don’t indulge flashy and ornate resumes, so casual or comic fonts are a big no! Choose a simple and elegant font.

Provide Valid Contact Information

What is the point of a stellar resume if the recruiter can’t get a hold of you, right? Put a section in your resume solely for basic information. Double-check to ensure there are no mistakes so that hiring managers can contact you.

Here is what to include in this segment of your CV:

  • Full name;
  • Address;
  • Email;
  • Telephone number;
  • Website or blogs;
  • Portfolio.

List other professional networks connected to your field of expertise.

Write a Strong Summary

Start your resume with a brief but compelling summary. Let the recruiter get to know you. Write about yourself, your skills, strengths, and experience. Highlight significant accomplishments or professional certificates. An effective summary is essential to shine through the crowd of resumes.

Display Your Accomplishments

When you add professional achievements to your resume, you show potential employers that you are devoted and accomplish significant results. This segment of your CV proves you’re a valuable candidate, and it is an effective way to make your resume stand out.

  • List your significant achievements in the career section of your resume.
  • Back up your success with facts and data.
  • Help recruiters understand the essence of your experience and qualifications.
  • Include skills relevant to the specific position you apply for.
  • Mention budgeting skills, product development, team-management, projects, or campaigns.

Identify and Implement Specific Keywords

Research job ads in your field to outline niche-specific keywords. List these words to increase your resume value as the ATS detects them and picks your profile as a match.

Use keywords related to the position you desire:

  • Program training;
  • Transferable skills: teamwork, leadership, problem-solving;
  • Education;
  • Certifications;
  • Courses;
  • Other notable achievements;

The richer and concise it is, the better.

Display Transferable Skills

Transferable skills give recruiters a glimpse of who you are as a person. Adding them to your resume will increase your chances of reaching the first interview stage.

Here are some skills to consider including in your CV, but only list them if you really have them!

  • Teamwork;
  • Leadership;
  • Communication;
  • Adaptability;
  • Organization;
  • Dependability, etc.

Customize the Resume for Every Job

Take your time to format your resume in accordance with the job you apply for. Recruiters typically skip generic or robotic CVs. Impress them with a detailed, custom-designed resume tailored to perfection. Convince them that not only you want this position, but you are the right person for it.

Check the Submission Requirements

Keep in mind the specific resume submission requirements. You have the choice to email it, upload it on the company website or submit an application via third-party sites. Review the document format specifications and stick to the instructions.

Regardless of the format, you must include your first and last name in the title. Avoid sending a document called “My-Resume-file” because it gets lost in the pile of applications. If you submit your CV by email, remember to attach the required files. Sign the email and add your contact information at the bottom. 

Takeaways

It’s time to get creative and impress the recruiters. As mentioned above, some companies use special applicant tracking systems (ATS) to manage and control pre-screening. Only well-tailored resumes get through. Implement these simple yet effective tips and get that interview!

Health

Adapting to the New Normal: What College Will Look Like in 2021

November 23, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise and forced colleges to change their approach to education. In-person classes would put both teachers and students at risk of catching the virus, so a lot of colleges had to switch to remote teaching. It seems that we will have to stick to remote learning for the coming year as pharmaceuticals still race to create a vaccine for the virus. You can expect colleges to adapt to different ways of holding classes, add new tasks for educators, and introduce new rules as they navigate growing challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Hybrid Learning

Many colleges have announced that they will continue to conduct classes virtually, especially as the number of cases continues to grow. However, once the vaccine for COVID-19 hits the market, you can expect them to adopt a hybrid model of learning. This model is a mix of in-person and virtual classes.

It will be a challenge at first for colleges to return back to only in-person classes. They will most likely have to ensure that all students on campus have been vaccinated – a reason why many institutions might not go back to the usual ways of teaching immediately. Some of the colleges and universities have already started using the hybrid model of learning in the fall of 2020, and the number of them will only grow next year, since experts predict the COVID-19 vaccine should be available mid-2021.

More one-on-one time with educators

Lecturers will likely be expected to put in extra time with virtual office hours to make up for the lack of in-person classes. Switching to remote learning has not been easy for students. There are many distractions online that can get in the way of learning during a virtual class, which means lecturers will have to put in more effort to keep students engaged and, at times, even dedicate more of their own time to one-on-one sessions with students, to gauge how much they have learned and if they need any additional help.

This of course will not be easy for lecturers to do, so it will be interesting to see the role of the college administration to hold them accountable and motivate them to invest even more time in their students.

Precautions like never before

In the scenario that a vaccine is made public and colleges go back to in-person classes only, there will probably have to be extreme precautions, some of which we have seen being applied throughout 2020. You can expect the number of students per class to stay trimmed down, so they can be socially distanced inside the classrooms. Everyone will be asked to wear a mask and limit physical contact. Colleges will also need to improve their medical centers to ensure they can respond to any major outbreaks that may arise.

Precautions will not only be limited to the classrooms. Libraries, dorms, and other spaces on campus will adopt precautions to ensure students, faculty, and other employees on campus are safe.

Like most industries, colleges continue to adapt to the changing circumstances of the pandemic. Until COVID-19 is controlled, you can expect colleges to stick to remote learning with limited, if at all, face to face interaction between faculty and students. 2021 hopes to bring some light with many hopeful that a vaccine will be introduced soon. But only time will tell.

BIO: With years of experience as a content strategist and creator, Anita Sambol has a ‘super-power’ of being a clear human voice for brands when talking to their audience. One of the projects she currently enjoys the most is being a content associate to EU Business School, where she’s also including her own experience from student and business life.

Student Life

Renters Insurance: 5 Things You Need to Know

November 20, 2020

You’re heading for college, with your parents’ car packed full of possessions. Next stop, your own independent place for the new semester. You might be renting a house, an apartment or accommodation on campus.

Whatever it is, there’s one big question – how do I protect my stuff?  Who’s responsible – me, the landlord, the college, my parents? That’s when the word insurance comes up. Suddenly you’re the one in charge and you need to find a way to protect your stuff.

You might be asking, why do I need insurance? College is supposed to be safe. Well, here are some figures we think you need to be aware of.

There are around 69,500 property crimes on campus every year, according to the FBI. Fires in student accommodation on campus numbered 1926 in 2015 according to Clery Act Data and 2017 survey of student housing officers reported that 98 percent of colleges don’t replace stolen or damaged student property.

So, it looks like insurance might be pretty important. It could save you a lot of money if something goes wrong. Next question, what type of insurance do I need and what should I look out for?

The good news is that there is a type of policy called renters’ insurance and there are products specially for students.  But, as you would expect, not all policies are the same and your needs might be different from other students. So, here’s a handy guide to the important things you need to consider before you take out a renters’ insurance policy.

Check what your landlord covers

Your landlord is only responsible for the building. It doesn’t matter if you’re renting from a private landlord or the college; they take out insurance to cover the cost of any repairs to the building and its fittings, inside or out. That could cover showers, radiators, windows and appliances like boilers and cookers. And if they provide furniture, they should cover that too.

But, a word of caution, if you cause any damage to the building, the fittings or the furniture, then the repair costs are probably heading your way.

Before you sign a lease agreement, ask your landlord to confirm in writing that they are responsible for those things listed above, and they have their own insurance in place to cover the cost of repairs.

When you look at possible policies, make sure it includes cover for any accidental damage you might cause to the landlord’s property.

Find out what your policy will cover

Will it cover all of your belongings, including your expensive laptop you bought just for college? First thing is to make a list of everything you’ve brought with you and update it with new stuff you plan to buy while you’re there, like new course books.

You’ll also need to put a realistic price on everything you own or are planning to buy. Think of the current price to replace it, even if it’s a battered old guitar or a rusting bike. There’s plenty of information online to check prices.

When you’ve got your list and your prices together, you’re probably amazed at your net worth, but that’s the figure you need to ask the insurer to cover. The insurer might also ask you to list any items above a certain value. Keep that list in a safe place – you never know when you might need it.

Does the policy also give you liability protection if somebody gets injured while they’re in your rented property? Your policy should cover their medical bills if you are somehow responsible for the accident.

You should also include cover for living expenses in case you have to move out if the landlord needs to do some major repairs to the property. Even a few days in a hotel could eat up a lot of dollars.

Check the exclusions in the policy

Most insurers set out factors or circumstances that mean they won’t be liable to pay out on the policy. The most likely ones are Acts of God, riots, natural disasters and extreme weather.

But, if you live in an area that is liable to flooding, for example, you may find that any cover you can get is limited. Insurers might also add exclusions if you live in a shared building where other people might be able to access your property.

Check the exclusions carefully to make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises when you need to make a claim.

Look carefully at policy prices

Renters insurance isn’t all that expensive. Many plans will cost just $15 to $30 per month. The figure you pay will depend on a number of factors – where you live and what you want to cover.

Your zip code is one of the big deciding factors. Insurers have masses of data on different parts of the country, the number of claims from each area and risk factors they apply. So don’t be surprised if your quote is much higher than the figures a friend pays at a college in a different part of the country.

The figure will also vary with the value of the rental property and the other types of cover included in the policy.

GradGuard makes it simple and straightforward for students to protect their stuff. With student-focused features, like a low-cost deductible and no credit check, we’re available nationwide exclusively for college students.

Career

4 Reasons LinkedIn is Perfect for Recent Graduates

November 18, 2020

Graduating from college is a huge achievement. But after all your hard work in school, it’s time to start looking for a career. If you are one of the lucky ones who has a job lined up immediately after graduating, congrats! But for most, the next step after graduating is finding a job.

Here are a few reasons why LinkedIn can be the perfect place for recent college grads to find a job.

There’s not a lot of competition

As a recent graduate, many of your peers may not be on LinkedIn yet.  Sure, they will be active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But those sites aren’t likely to land you a job.

The sooner you create a LinkedIn profile, the better. So if you haven’t graduated yet, I’d recommend making a LinkedIn account during your last semester of school. Over 90% of recruiters are using LinkedIn and recent graduates are hot commodities. Be the first in your class to get on LinkedIn and recruiters will be all over you.

You can network with people at target companies

It’s tempting to accept the first offer you receive out of college. After all, it’s exciting to receive a salary with benefits as a recent graduate. Before accepting any offers, take some time to learn about the company you will be working for and the job responsibilities you will have. You can save yourself a lot of time in the long run by doing this.

If you don’t know anyone who works in a similar position at the company, you should check LinkedIn. It’s a great place to find and connect with other employees at the company. And you’d be surprised how many people are willing to get on a phone call to discuss the job with an interested applicant.

After getting some insider information, you’ll have a much easier time making a final decision.

There are plenty of high-quality jobs

LinkedIn is a great website to find and apply to jobs. It’s completely free for the job seeker and they even offer a filter for “Internship” and “Entry level” jobs.

It’s also one of the few sites that will occasionally show the recruiter who posted the job. This is a great opportunity for you to send them a message on LinkedIn expressing your interest in the position.

Networking with the job poster is a great strategy that is done regularly for higher-level jobs. But as a recent graduate, very few of your peers will know to do this.

You can get recommendations from professors and classmates

Recommendations are a great way to spruce up a LinkedIn profile. Since you just graduated, you should have a large list of professors and classmates you can request recommendations from. Recommendations are written testimonials that people can write about you. By asking some of your favorite professors or classmates to say a few kind words, you will stick out amongst your peers. 

Very few recent graduates have LinkedIn recommendations so even getting 2-3 will make you look like a rockstar to hiring managers and recruiters.

Takeaways

Here are some things to remember about why LinkedIn is great for recent graduates to land a job:

  • You will be amongst a minority of peers on LinkedIn.
  • You will save yourself from accepting a job you hate.
  • You will find high quality jobs to apply for.
  • You will receive recommendations that set you apart.

Author Bio: Mike Podesto is a former recruiter and current Founder & CEO of Find My Profession, a leading resume writing and career coaching company. Mike is passionate about helping job seekers find fulfillment in their careers by breaking down the tedious job search barriers

Career

Five Tips for College Students on Using LinkedIn

November 13, 2020

One of the biggest myths about college is the belief that a degree can guarantee you will have a successful career. But the truth is, you can graduate with flying colors and still struggle to find a job if you don’t prepare for what’s ahead.

Building a career takes planning and many careful steps along the way. One of the things that you can do to start preparing for a future great career is to slowly build your professional brand on LinkedIn while you are still in college.

How College Students Can Benefit from Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn is such a powerful tool that if you are going to choose just one online profile, it should be on this platform. According to the platform, over 200,000 students join every month, and this impressive figure tells you that these students are on to something.

The benefits of using LinkedIn go beyond making connections and creating an online presence. Your profile is like a live resume that does much of the networking for you. Aside from these perks, here are some of the other features that students can utilize from LinkedIn:

Job Alerts

Whether you are looking for a part-time job, internship, or simply want to be in the know on who is hiring at the moment, you can set up job alerts on LinkedIn and be notified of new open positions in your industry.

Company Research

Learning more about an organization can easily be done on the platform. This gives you a peek into what is new in the industry, typical hiring processes, and even company reviews.

Professional Connections

Connecting with industry experts who can be a potential mentor for you is easily done. Since LinkedIn is a professional networking site, you can quickly connect with business leaders and professionals from whom you can learn.

How to Use LinkedIn for Career Preparation

If you are new to LinkedIn or do not have an account yet, here are 5 things that you can start working on to make LinkedIn work to your advantage.

Complete Your Profile

While not a LinkedIn requirement, completing your profile can give you a better online job search experience. You can receive targeted job recommendations based on the education and list of interests you placed on your profile. This helps you save time and you only get job recommendations that are relevant to you.

Upload your Online Resume

Uploading your resume on LinkedIn helps increase your employability level as this step makes it easier for recruiters to see if you would be a good fit. It’s important to take the time to know how to add your resume to LinkedIn.

Join your University Alumni Group

Connecting with your alma mater’s network allows you to form relationships with fellow students and college alumni so you can stay updated on where they have gotten job offers. You can also check with the alumni to determine if any of their companies are hiring and request a reference. Aside from staying in touch, these connections can greatly leverage your professional network.

Get and Give Recommendations

Try to get LinkedIn recommendations from mentors, fellow students, and even from your teachers. These serve as virtual references from other people in the industry and can help strengthen your profile. The more recommendations that you get, will show that more people find you credible and trustworthy in your chosen field. Don’t forget to reciprocate and give others recommendations as well.

Update Your Profile Regularly

Since your LinkedIn account will continue to work to your advantage so make sure to update your profile often with recent training, certifications, and awards.

LinkedIn is a great platform for college students to help them create a blueprint for a successful career. Like any tool, you need to put in effort for it to generate visible results, and preparation is essential. This is where you will see what one is willing to do to set himself apart and how far he is willing to go to achieve his goals. 

About the Author: Amanda Morris is a writer and a contributor. Her works are specifically geared towards providing information for students that can help them with their fields and their journey to career development.

Student Life Transition

Common Barriers to Returning to Education and How to Overcome Them

November 10, 2020
Common Barriers to Returning to Education and How to Overcome Them

An increasing number of adults are returning to college, either to complete degrees that they already started or to further their education within a professional field.

While this is an admirable endeavor, it should never be taken lightly. Attending classes — especially as a parent or while still working — is a big commitment that comes with a variety of challenges. Here are a few of the most common barriers to returning to school as well as suggestions for ways to overcome them.

Finances Can Be Tight

Often a return to school is precipitated by bad finances, a languishing work situation, or both. This can make money feel very tight while you’re attending school.

While tight finances are a common challenge, you can address this barrier by:

Work Remains a Priority

If you attend school as an adult, there’s a good chance that you’re also going to work part-time, at the least. You may even have to maintain a full-time work schedule, especially if you don’t want to sacrifice your career momentum.

The need to attend school while still working can feel impossible. However, you can address the barrier of work and school by:

  • Tightening up your expenses and dropping to part-time as a temporary measure.
  • Accepting a longer educational timeline by attending school part-time.
  • Maintaining close communication with bosses and professors as you navigate your work- and class-loads.
  • Using a loan, if absolutely necessary, to help make ends meet — although you should have a plan in place on how you’ll repay the money.

Family Responsibilities Don’t Go Away

As if work and school weren’t already a lot, many adult students also have personal lives — especially families — that require their attention. A spouse may be a support during school, but children, while a blessing, do present an additional sense of responsibility.

If you’re attempting to care for your family while returning to school, you can address this barrier by:

  • Keeping a cloud-based calendar that collects all of your family’s schedules, classes, work hours, and extracurricular events in one place for all to see.
  • Setting distinct boundaries, such as times to work, do homework, and tend to family concerns — and then communicating these clearly to your boss, professors, and dependents.
  • Finding good healthcare for your family, even if you’re in a lower income bracket.
  • Scheduling in time to unplug and focus on family to prevent strained relationships and unwelcome distancing.

Self-Esteem Can Go Out the Window

Finally, with a boss looking over one shoulder and a string of professors peeking over the other, it’s easy to feel a bit over-analyzed at times. This constant flow of feedback, letter grading, and judgment, in general, can do a number on your self-esteem.

It’s important to maintain faith in yourself while you’re juggling so many responsibilities. You can take steps to overcome this barrier by:

  • Taking time to meditate and pray each morning.
  • Staying focused on long-term goals rather than short-term problems.
  • Resisting the need to become overly-involved in the full “college experience.”
  • Setting up lifelines to friends and family members when you need to talk.

Owning Your Return to School

Returning to school can feel daunting. However, if you take steps to maintain healthy finances, properly prioritize work, school, and family, and keep up your self-esteem, you can dominate your time on campus.

The important thing is that you proactively invest yourself in a good adult learning experience. Try to see your return as a good step in the right direction, rather than a challenge or problem that must be overcome. This lays the foundation for a successful, productive, and positive return to school.

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Adulting Student Life Transition

7 Tips For Living in Your First Off Campus Apartment

November 4, 2020

Making the transition from living on-campus to a nearby apartment brings many responsibilities. While it comes with more independence, it’s worth knowing if your complex is catered to students like yourself, or not. You can have friends over without worrying about dorm hours, or have the freedom to stay in your college town during the holidays or summer when the dorms are closed. However, you need to make sure you take proper responsibilities like paying your bills on time and sticking to your budget so you can enjoy your new apartment lifestyle.

Here are some tips for living in your first off campus apartment:

Have Everything in a Written Contract

When you live in your first off-campus apartment, it’ll most likely be your first opportunity to understand the importance of having everything in a written contract, and before signing it, you should read it through entirely. It also doesn’t hurt to have a parent or another adult read it through too since they most likely have more experience with renting. If you were promised something when you toured the facility or saw something in an advertisement, like a rent adjustment, you need to be certain that it is well-documented in the rent contract. And of course, don’t forget renters insurance.

Keep a Consistent Cleaning Schedule

Living in your first off-campus apartment means that you’re in charge of cleaning it. Whether you live alone or have roommates, you need to make a cleaning schedule and be consistent about making it happen. You don’t have to vacuum every day, but you should make a habit of wiping the kitchen and bathroom counters, taking out the trash, cleaning out the fridge regularly.

Pay All of Your Bills On Time

It might not seem like much, but paying your bills late will affect your credit score and result in late fees. To avoid having late bills, you can set auto-draft payments or simply write bill due dates on a calendar. If you’re collecting money from your roommates to pay the bills, you should start collecting at least a week before the money is due to make sure you have it on time.

Always Lock Your Doors

It’s easy to think that nothing will ever happen especially in your college town, but you should always lock your apartment door even if you’ll just be gone a few minutes. This includes running to your car really quickly or taking out the trash. If you’re uncomfortable with someone in your apartment, such as roommates or guests, you should lock your bedroom door when you aren’t home.

Think Carefully About Your Roommates

If you have roommates, you need to think long and hard about who you choose to live with. Will they be respectful of the complex’s rules? Will they be quiet if you need to study? Will they help clean up in the kitchen? Will they pay their part on time? These are all just a few of the questions you need to think about before agreeing to be roommates with someone. Just because they’re your close friend doesn’t mean they would make an ideal roommate. If you’re going the random roommate route, make sure to vet them thoroughly. Your complex may also have a roommate matching program to find you someone with similar qualities. Make sure you and your roommates each have your own renters insurance policy.

Create a Budget

Now that you’re living off-campus, you’ll be responsible for more expenses, and they can add up quickly. On top of rent and utilities, you need to create a budget for items such as groceries, entertainment, transportation (gas, bus card, subway pass, etc.), and clothing, and stick to it! You need to budget for the entire semester so you aren’t stuck eating sandwiches for the last 3 months of the semester because you spent all of your money the first month. Look into using a budgeting app to simplify the process.

Feel Free to Decorate

The apartment won’t feel like yours without a few personal decorations. Simple decorations like a team banner, throw pillows, picture frames, or movie posters will go a long way in making the place feel like your very own. Since this is your first off-campus apartment, you probably want make sure it feels like your own place, and bringing in decor items that show your personality will help.

Living in your first off-campus apartment is an exciting time full of new adventures! But don’t let the new found freedom get in the way of staying on top of the responsibilities that come along with it. Stick to these tips and you’ll be sure to be successful.

Student Life

How to Stay Engaged During Virtual Lectures

October 30, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we learn, with an ever increasing number of courses now moving to an online format. But this doesn’t mean that students need to make any compromises in terms of their studies.

Virtual lectures provide all the benefits of more traditional teaching, and they can be just as effective when it comes to imparting knowledge. And of course, they’re also easily accessible and a safer alternative than in-person classes when it comes to Covid-19.

If you’re embarking on a new course with virtual lectures, workshops or seminars, take a look at our top tips on how to stay engaged to make the most out of your teaching.

Find a quiet space

Whether you’ve just moved into university accommodation or you’re starting a new course from home, you’ll definitely need a quiet place to study.

Set up a suitable study area in your university room or within your home, and try to make this area as quiet and distraction-free as possible. Then, when it’s time to log in and start a lecture, you’ll already have a study-ready space available, and those you live with will know not to disturb you while you’re working.

Free yourself from digital distractions

Digital devices can be great for online learning, but they also have an uncanny ability to divert our attention when we least expect it. 

Before tuning in to a lecture, make sure notifications are turned off on your phone and tablet, and shut any browser tabs that aren’t relevant to the lecture. Remember to close any email accounts that you might have open too, because it’s always tricky to resist opening a new message when you see one pop up!

Keep your sound on

There are steps that you can take that will subconsciously encourage you to stay focussed and engaged. And sound is key to this.

If you’re studying in a quiet space with little background noise, then it’s a good idea to keep your sound turned on as you watch the lecture. That way, you won’t be tempted to start talking to housemates, and you won’t get up to make a quick coffee midway through.

Focus on your lecturer

Some online learning platforms provide participants with a huge selection of information, from comments and feedback from other students to feeds showing everyone taking part. While these options are useful for certain forms of teaching, such as collaborative discussions, they can also feel a little overwhelming when they’re not needed.

If you’re taking part in a lecture and you need to focus solely on what’s being said by the professor, toggle the options to show only the live feed from your lecturer. Make sure your screen isn’t showing other participants, and take away the stream from your own camera, because that too can be a huge distraction.

Engage with others

Interactivity can be incredibly beneficial in online teaching, particularly when lectures draw to a close and it’s time for questions and comments. To get the most out of the interactive elements of your course, it pays to be as engaged as possible.

When it’s your turn to speak, make sure you look directly into the camera. Pay careful attention to how your professor and fellow students react to your comments, taking notes as others speak. Stay focussed throughout the discussion, and try to engage with other participants as much as possible.

Virtual lectures provide fantastic learning opportunities for students who are unable to gather at lecture halls for in-person teaching. Using the latest online learning platforms, these lectures offer all the interactivity of a traditional lecture, and they’re always accessible no matter where students happen to be.

While distractions can get in the way during online learning, there are plenty of steps that students can take to ensure that they squeeze every possible drop of knowledge out of their virtual lectures. Follow our steps and you’ll make the most out of your online course – without ever having to step foot outside your front door.

Author Bio: This article was written by conference and keynote speaker bureau, VBQ Speakers.

Student Life

How to Make Dorm Life More Comfortable

October 30, 2020

When you had a tough day in elementary school, you could come home and talk to Mom or Dad while they made dinner in the kitchen. When you had a rough time in middle school, you could spend the evening sprawled in front of the television, unwinding in safe security. When you had a challenging day in high school, you could retreat to the familiar serenity of your bedroom.

Now that you’re in college, though, everything is new. Your workload likely feels enormous. Your social life is constant. And when you feel overwhelmed? Well, you want to have a safe place where you can withdraw to recoup and recover, right?

Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you turn your dorm life into a sanctuary that’s as calming as your childhood home.

Don’t Neglect Nostalgia

First and foremost, if you want to quickly establish a sense of comfort in your dorm, it’s important that you purposefully bring some of your home along with you.

You can do this by packing things like:

  • Photos of your family.
  • Wall-hung art/pictures from home.
  • Your own bedding with the smell of home.
  • Mugs, silverware, and any other daily items that can remind you of home.

The more small reminders you can have of the home front, the easier it will be to introduce a sense of familiarity with your new living space.

Think About Physical Comfort

Before we get to the decorations and setup of your dorm, it’s important to address the physical comfort of your space. The three main items in question are:

  • Your bed: Do you have a good bed to sleep on? If not, can you bring a memory foam mattress, good bedding, or anything else to improve your sleep?
  • Your desk: Do you have a comfortable, spacious area where you can work on homework or study for hours at a time?
  • A chair: You don’t want to literally break your back while you’re working in your dorm. Make sure your chair is comfortable and has good lumbar support.

While all of these are important, you don’t need to break the bank for them. There are many ways that you can thrift and repurpose older furniture for your own use. You may even be able to bring some furniture from home.

The important thing is that you keep an eye out for quality items that will make your space more inviting.

Steer into a Warm, Cozy Feel

Once you have your basic furniture needs tended to, it’s time to start focusing on a comfortable feel to go along with them.

Start by identifying a few words that embody what you want your space to feel like. While each person’s taste is different, if you want a comfortable space, you’ll probably want to include words like cozy and warm in there somewhere.

When it comes to creating a cozy bedroom, you may not be able to do bigger projects, like paint the walls, but it’s still easy to tap into those fuzzy feelings with small details, like getting a headboard, setting up a few potted plants, or plastering a lamp.

Don’t Forget the Ambiance

Along with the decor, it’s also important to remember the ambiance of your room. Of particular interest are:

  • The smell: College dorms can be especially rank, and it’s important to fight that tendency. Try setting up a diffuser and some essential oils to claim a positive, predictable aroma for your space.
  • The sounds: Make sure you have a good way to regularly pump your dorm full of comforting sounds. A smart home device and Bluetooth earbuds are both excellent college student gifts, whether you request them from someone else or give them to yourself as a house warming present.
  • The lighting: Don’t surrender to those stark dorm lights. Bring a lamp, hang Christmas lights, and generally look for ways to get some mood lighting set up in your space.

Dorm, Sweet Dorm

From a comfortable workspace and bed to a cozy ambiance and a warm decor, there are plenty of ways to easily turn a stark dorm room into a comfortable paradise. Refer to the list above, brainstorm how you can apply these ideas to your own dorm, and then start cobbling together the most comfortable dorm on the campus

AUTHOR BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.