All Posts By

Nhi Nguyen

Other Safety

Better Safe Than Sorry!

August 24, 2018

Now that you’re all on your own in college, without any adult supervision from your parents, it’s best to take whatever steps necessary to stay safe and protect yourself from dangerous situations that could occur at any time of the day. One key thing to remember is that there is no such thing as being too cautious, especially when you’re by yourself.  Below are a few tips and suggestions on what you can do to stay safe around campus.

Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Especially at night. Whether you’re just walking to your car or going for a quick run to the convenience store next door, make sure to look around you and look out for any suspicious individuals or activities that might be lurking around your neighborhood. For many, it is a common thing to have on headphones and listen to music while you’re out and about, however, when you are by yourself, this could put you in a very vulnerable and risky situation. Music can be distracting and can also drown out noises around you, therefore it makes it easier for the bad guys to approach you. Music is good for the soul, but let’s save it for when you’re at a pool party or when you have safely arrived in your car and locked it.

Carry a safety kit.

This doesn’t have to be anything bulky or wildly noticeable. With so many cases of assault and kidnapping nowadays, even in broad daylight, it is smart to carry a personal safety kit with you everywhere you go. The most popular protection item for college students and young adults to carry is pepper spray as it is very affordable and accessible. Another item that’s not very commonly used but is extremely helpful is a personal alarm, which can be used in emergency situations to scare off an attacker and alert assistance. Sabre is a brand of security equipment that offers personal safety kits that include both a pepper spray and a personal alarm which can be easily attached to your keychain. This is a great product to keep in mind when stocking a personal safety kit.

Know how to put out a grease fire.

You’d be surprised how many cases of cooking-related fire incidents occur each year, especially among college students. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking is the number one cause that can lead to home fires. The most obvious and important factor in not having grease fires is to take the necessary steps to prevent them. However, in the case that you have already started one, you can refer to the list below for the basic tips on how to extinguish the fire:

  1. DO NOT use water to put out the fire.
  2. Locate the heat source and turn it off.
  3. Try covering the pan/pot with a baking sheet or any metal lids until it has cooled down.
  4. If the fire is small, you can douse it with baking soda or salt.
  5. If the fire is on a larger scale and not manageable, use a fire extinguisher.

Purchase renters insurance.

As reported by the Clery Act, there is an average of 22,463 annual burglaries reported on college campuses and 2,070 annual fires reported in on-campus student housing (data is from 2017-2018). For unpredictable and unfortunate incidents like these, it is highly recommended that students protect themselves and their personal belongings by looking into purchasing renters insurance. GradGuard offers low deductibles and worldwide property coverage for students at an affordable price. This is in the event that their laptops, bikes, or backpacks get stolen. This applies even if they are just around campus or vacationing outside of the country. To get more information, click here.

With all that said, let’s hope that you don’t run into any unfortunate mishaps. Have fun being a college student, but always do your best to make sure that you are safe no matter where you go!

Health Other

Watch Your Waste!

August 17, 2018

Whether you’re living in a dorm or somewhere off campus, those weekly trips to the grocery store are essential as you need to pack on the proteins to fuel your body and brain for those long nights of study. Can you even begin to count how many plastic bags you have taken home and dispose throughout those trips? It’s probably too much to count even if you have hundreds of fingers.

Plastic bags are one of the most common pollutants in landfills that pose as a major threat to wildlife. Many marine animals mistake plastic bags for food and end up ingesting these toxic debris that continue to float around the ocean. The intake of plastics is not only harmful to the animals but can also have a negative impact on humans as it transfers the debris up to bigger fish and marine animals, in which we consume and end up ingesting these tiny pieces of plastics ourselves.

What can we do to eliminate these wasteful and destructive plastic bags you may ask? The answer is reusable grocery bags. You can find these bags at almost any grocery stores that you shop at for an affordable price. For instance, Trader Joe’s offers eye-catching and sturdy reusable bags at the cost of only $1.00 each. They also offer an incentive for those who choose to use their own bag instead of taking one from the store. Students and adults alike, you are eligible to enter into a raffle where you have the opportunity to win a $25.00 gift card. It might not sound like much, but for college students, that gift card can come in handy when you’re short on money for that weekly grocery trip.

Besides being environmentally responsible, another responsibility you should take on as college students is to purchase renters insurance in the events that your personal belongings are stolen, such as bikes and laptops. GradGuard offers worldwide property coverage that will cover you and your belongings everywhere you go for an affordable cost. For a free quote, go to https://gradguard.com/renters. It never hurts to check it out.

Other Transition

The Last Straw

August 7, 2018

Almost everyone will take up the opportunity of a straw when offered one, but how many people actually know the detrimental effects that plastic straws have on our planet?

Just within the U.S. alone, roughly 500 million straws are used each day. Many of those straws are made from what we know as “Styrofoam” and can take up to 200 years to degrade. Even then, they will never be completely destroyed as plastic straws do not biodegrade, therefore, tiny and invisible pieces of those straws will continue to remain on Earth forever.

You might be thinking, “What’s so bad about straws remaining on Earth? They’re so small.” Well, while it is true that straws are relatively small, imagine 500 million of them being disposed in landfill each day and floating on the ocean over the years. Even at a relatively small college campus like Furman University in South Carolina, 22,000 straws were being used each month—a fraction of the 500 million plastic straws used in America daily. But that is before the executive director of Furman’s Sustainability center began his movement of replacing plastic straws with paper ones.

Another devastating statistic regarding plastic use: 1 million seabirds and marine animals die each year from consuming plastics that are constantly being disposed of by us humans.

It’s time to take responsibility and raise awareness about the harmful effects of these single-use straws. Below are 2 easy steps that you can take to make this change happen:

  • REFUSE! This is another R that you should apply to your daily life on top of the other 3 that you should have already been practicing. Reduce, Reuse, Refuse, Recycle. Being a college student, it can be hard to eat at home every day because that requires cooking, so that calls for nights of eating out, to which will make you feel the need to order a drink, or ask for a water cup for all that matters. In those cases, it can be tempting to not grab a straw with your drink/water cup as it’s right there, ready and available to grab. However, now that you are aware of the dangerous effects of plastic straws, it should definitely be easier to refuse them in the future.
  • Invest in reusable straws: The go-to for reusable straws are stainless steel ones. These are good investments as they are reusable and easy to clean, as well as sophisticated-looking. The up-front cost of these can sound like a lot, and it’s understandable that being a college student, you want to try and save any penny that you can. However, the long-term value of these environmentally-friendly straws are definitely worth investing. You can buy a pack of 8 stainless steel straws along with 2 cleaning brushes and a carry bag for less than $10.00 on Amazon. You can also buy this as a gift for your friend who drinks Starbucks every day yet refuses to invest in a reusable cup and straw.

*The fact stands that plastic straws are harmful for the environment. However, we should also take into accounts of their convenient existence for people with disabilities. One of the main issues that poses for disabled people with using straws made out of materials other than plastic is that they are neither safe or flexible enough. According to an article regarding plastic straws ban on CNN, those with jitters have a hard time using metal straws as they are too hard and can be painful, and paper straws dissolve when comes in contact with water, so that leaves plastic straws as the last man standing.

In this case, the above refuse and reuse method should not be applied. It is incredibly important to be environmentally responsible but it’s also important to recognize the needs of those around you. The long-term goal is to have an ecologically balanced environment without having to sacrifice the needs of individuals with disabilities.

GradGuard prides themselves on being as eco-friendly as possible! From daily recycling to being a paperless company, we do whatever we can to help the environment. If you are wanting an insurance company that cares about you AND the world around you, consider getting insured by GradGuard today!

Adulting Other

Your Vacation is Awaiting! Let’s Get Packing!

July 17, 2018

Good news students, it’s still summertime! Before the next semester starts to slowly creep up on you,  go ahead and reward yourself with a relaxing but also adventuresome vacation. After all, you did work extremely hard for that GPA, and you deserve to forget you’re a college student for just a moment and enjoy a well-earned break away from campus.

Whether you’re staying for a few weeks in another country or just going to Cali for the weekend, it’s always wise to pack the essential items that you know you’re going to need on a day-to-day basis. 

However, that’s easier said than done. How nice would it be if you can just magically memorize everything that you need to bring with you on the day of your trip? As a college student, you’re probably used to stuffing everything in your brain at the last minute. For a vacation, this can be a tough thing to accomplish unless you’re extremely low-maintenance where food and water are all you need to survive on a who-knows-how-long getaway.

For those who need a little more than just the essentials to survive, there’s an effective way to make sure that you will have everything you need so that your brain is roaming free and your body is at its most relaxed stage while you’re on your long-awaited vacation.

One method that works wonders is to re-enact your typical day in your head from the moment you wake up until the moment when you’re ready to lay down on your bed and call it a night.

After taking a minute to really think about your daily routine,  a typical day might look something like below:

 

                           Day activities            Things to pack
Waking Up  Your favorite pillow (especially if it’s a road trip).
Take a drink of water Your favorite reusable bottle. Hydro Flask is an amazing option as it’s designed to keep your drink hot or cold all day and helps create a more sustainable world. 
Brush teeth Your toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash.
Morning skin care routine Your favorite face wash, toner, serum, moisturizer, and most importantly, sunscreen, and more.
Breakfast For those who don’t want to spend money every day on breakfast while on vacation, bring a few food items from home that are not easily perishable, such as breakfast bars, instant oatmeal, ready-to-eat pancakes and French toast, and dried fruit (dried mango slices are so yummy!).
Outing activities Plan out your outfit accordingly, make sure to check the weather of your destination before the trip.

Cold weather: fuzzy socks, scarf, gloves, earmuffs, jackets, sweaters, long pants, a beanie, etc.

Hot weather: sunglasses, summer shoes (sandals, flip-flops, etc.), shorts, tank tops, swim trunks,  sundresses, anything with thin and breathable fabrics will do.

A few miscellaneous things that are good to bring include: hand sanitizer, tissues, and wet wipes. 

             Activities before bed                     Things to pack
Shower Your favorite body wash, shampoo, and conditioner.  Don’t forget the loofah!

*A great recommendation is the 18-in-1 Dr. Bronner Pure Castile soap, as it can be used for many purposes and saves you tons of spaces in your luggage.

Brush teeth Same as in the morning
Evening skincare routine Should be similar to the morning routine. Bring any additional products you might need.
Reading (optional) If you’re a reader, bring a Kindle or a couple of your favorite books along with a book reading light. 
Allergy prevention If you know you’re susceptible to allergies, pack allergy pills as a change in weather can cause severe sneezing and coughing. Better safe than sorry!
Bedtime Bring an extra blanket if your destination has cold weather, and an extra pillow won’t hurt 🙂

Of course, this is just a general list of what an average college student would typically need while on vacation, but please pack accordingly based on your own wants and needs as everyone is different.

Apart from the above list, the most important thing of all is to stay safe while you travel. To ensure that you and your belongings are protected no matter where you go, GradGuard Renters Insurance offers a worldwide (yes that’s right, worldwide) coverage that will protect college students and young adults from unpredictable mishaps such as theft and vandalization that could happen while on vacation.  

With that said, have a safe and fun-packed vacation!