All Posts By

Olivia Camargo

Other

5 Ways for Students to Help the Environment

April 10, 2021

Environmental justice is a topic that’s on the mind of a lot of students these days. It can feel discouraging to hear about a problem that is so big and out of control like climate change. But there are some simple ways to make a difference!

Here are few things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.

Calculate your impact

It’s helpful to be more aware of the impact of your lifestyle. Check out Conservation International’s Carbon Footprint ​Calculator​! Start thinking about how you can drive less, carpool more, and opt for greener alternatives when possible.

Recycle

Recycling is a great way to be more aware of your consumption. It’s important to be aware of ​proper recycling etiquette​ to ensure you are recycling what you are supposed to. For most cities, contaminated recyclables often end up costing a lot more money to dispose of versus if they were clean. So make sure you rinse that pizza box out before throwing it in the blue bin, and tossing out your bottled drinks without the liquid!

Eat more plant-based

One of the biggest differences you can make for the environment is ​consuming fewer animal products​. You don’t have to go completely vegan to have a positive impact! Try Meatless Mondays or experiment with veganizing one of your favorite meals. Plus, many fast food joints offer Impossible burger options these days to make it easy to eat plant-based on the go.

Thrift

Thrifting is a fun way to limit your consumption and contribution to fast fashion. Check out our ​College Student’s Guide to Thrift Shopping​ for some tips on how to start shopping second-hand. You can also thrift furniture!

Reuse

Try to limit your use of single-use plastics. Invest in quality reusable items such as water bottles and shopping bags. If you do end up with plastic bags from the store, repurpose them as trash bags or for pet waste cleanup.

These are just a few ideas to help you be more environmentally friendly. Take some time to educate yourself on how you can be a more ethical consumer and continue to make lifestyle changes that contribute to a more sustainable future!

Student Life

Tips for Staying Focused in Your Virtual Classes

March 30, 2021

Virtual classes can be seriously draining. It’s easy to drift off and become distracted during a virtual lecture.

With the option to turn your camera off, sometimes you can even forget you’re even in class! Here are some tips for maintaining focus.

Keep that camera on!

It can be so tempting to turn your camera off when other students are but keeping your camera on is a great way to stay accountable and engaged in class.

Ask questions

Participating in class is a good way to feel more connected to the online school experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in class because you are likely not the only one feeling the same confusion. Your participation might even encourage others to do the same!

Take notes

Even if your professor posts their lecture slides online, it can be helpful to take notes in order to stay focused on the material. Boost your muscle memory by taking notes by hand, or type them if you’re in a pinch and don’t have a pen and paper handy.

Utilize office hours

Visiting your professor during office hours is a great way to make connections amidst a socially distanced time and to get further help with your class material. This is extra important if you’re in a large lecture full of hundreds of other students. Check with your professor to see when they are providing virtual office hours.

Be mindful of your environment

It’s a lot easier to stay focused when you are in a calm environment. If possible, try to find a quiet, comfortable spot to take your classes. This doesn’t mean your couch or bed! You can also try to communicate with others in your household that you need to be uninterrupted for certain hours of the day.

Good luck in your virtual classes and make sure to check out more of our ​articles​ for advice on navigating college life in the era of COVID-19.

Health

Tips for Staying Active in the Winter

March 19, 2021

With gym closures and concerns for health during the pandemic, many students have been unable to exercise at their student fitness center or local gym. This has caused a lot of students to take up running and other outdoor activities. Cold weather can make it difficult to run outside and can decrease motivation for staying active.

Here are a few tips for staying active in the winter:

Turn to YouTube

There are many free exercise resources available on YouTube, from yoga to HIIT, you have many options to explore. Channels such as ​Yoga with Adriene​ and N​atacha Océane​ provide quality exercise videos. You can also check out apps like Peloton, Nike Training Club, and ClassPass that offer free training programs, or at least a free trial for one.

Invest in some equipment

It can be worthwhile to invest in some equipment such as resistance bands, a jump rope, and dumbbells. It can be expensive to buy certain items new, but you can always find second-hand equipment on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and eBay. If you don’t want to buy online, check out discount stores or look for sales at major retailers.

Bundle up and embrace the outdoors

If conditions are safe, you can still run outside. Make sure to bundle up and be aware of ice. Here are some​ tips ​for running in the cold such as keeping yourself well lit with limited sunlight. Layers are crucial!

Be mindful of your movement

If you are busy with school work and feel that you don’t have enough time to dedicate to workouts, try to incorporate more movement into your daily routine. This can mean a few jumping jacks between virtual classes or a bit of stretching before going to bed. Try to remain aware of how long you have been sedentary and stand frequently. If you’re running errands, park farther away or opt for the stairs over the elevator or escalator as much as possible.

Repurpose household items

If you don’t have access to workout equipment be creative and repurpose items around your house. This can mean using some textbooks, water jugs, wine bottles or cans of food as weights. Try running up and down your stairs, or using a chair to do some step-ups or tricep dips.

Don’t let gym closures and a loss of your former routine keep you from sticking to your fitness goals. There’s a lot of creative ways to stay active. For more tips on college life make sure to follow us on social media @gradguard.

Student Life

How to Experience Study Abroad From Home

March 1, 2021

Many students were forced to give up their study abroad experiences amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be hard to have to stay home when you were previously dreaming of eating pasta in Italy or exploring museums in London. Although you may not be able to travel at the moment, there are a few things you can do to bring the study abroad experience to you.

Take a Cooking Class

One of the best ways to explore a new culture is through food. This past year many more cooking experiences have become available from chefs all over the world. If you have been dreaming of the perfect ravioli, there is no need to wait to fly across the world. ​Airbnb​ is currently offering international cooking classes, as well as websites like ​Cozymeal​.

Tour a Museum Virtually

Many museums are currently offering virtual tours that allow you to still experience culture and art from the comfort of your own room. Check out the Mona Lisa at ​The Louvre​ in Paris or the Rosetta Stone at ​the British Museum​.

Explore Markets Online

What is a trip abroad without some souvenirs? Many famous markets such as the Old Spitalfields​ and ​Portabello Market​ in London have gone virtual.

Find a Pen Pal

Make an international friend by finding your own pen pal! Use a website like PenPal World​, to connect with someone new. This can also be a great opportunity to practice a new language.

Get Lost in a Good Book or Movie

A book or movie can easily transport you to a different place. Explore media that can teach you more about a new culture and provide an escape from your routine. Opt for a foreign film and watch it with subtitles!

Although it can be disappointing when you have to cancel an experience that you have been looking forward to, it can be helpful to look to the future and hold out hope for future trips and new adventures. Check out more of our ​articles​ for tips on study abroad and navigating college life during COVID-19.

Student Life

10 Essential Skin Care Tips for Students

February 24, 2021

How much time do you spend caring for your largest organ? When you are balancing a busy schedule and pulling all-nighters, your skincare routine can easily become the first thing to go.

Here are some tips to help you retain radiant skin throughout the school year.

Drink Water

Water is a great method for ​decreasing toxins and improving your skin​. Not only does it help your skin, but water is also essential for your overall health.

Sleep

Getting 7-9 hours of ​sleep​ is vital for your skin health. Make sure to make time for sleep to maintain energy throughout your day and avoid puffy eyes and dull skin. And if you didn’t know it by now, “catching up” on sleep on the weekends is a myth!

Moisturize

Keep your skin hydrated! There are many​ benefits​ to moisturizing your skin regularly. Look for one with SPF to wear during the day, and an extra hydrating one for nighttime.

Exfoliate

It can be beneficial to ​exfoliate​ a few times a week. There are numerous ways to exfoliate, with chemical exfoliation being easier on your skin than physical exfoliate. Be careful when deciding to use a face scrub as it may contain ingredients that can be harmful to your skin. Talk to a dermatologist or esthetician if you have concerns about sensitivity.

Read the ingredients

It’s really important to read the ingredients on your skincare products! You always want to be mindful of what you are putting on your skin. Here are some ​ingredients​ that you should look out for when purchasing product.

Do your research

It’s important to learn what products are best for your skin type. Do some deep diving on products that will provide the most benefit to you.

Eat your veggies!

A healthy diet has been linked to healthier skin. Here are some examples of the impact that your diet can have on your ​skin​.

Don’t forget sunscreen

Sunscreen is so important! Decrease your chances of ​skin cancer​ and developing wrinkles by applying sunscreen regularly.

Don’t pick on your skin

It can be tempting to pop your pimples and touch your face. Don’t do that! Help prevent scaring by leaving those blemishes alone. Instead, opt for some of these pimple banishing ​solutions​.

Be consistent

It’s important to stay consistent with your skincare routine. One day of leaving your makeup on or not applying sunscreen can have negative results. Start small and aim to wash your face every night before bed, and applying SPF every morning.

Check out more of our ​articles​ for tips and tricks on your self-care practice.

Student Life

A College Student’s Guide to Streaming Music

February 16, 2021

Music is a backdrop to a student’s everyday life from walking to class, to studying, or hanging out with friends. Having access to music on your phone always comes in handy. Streaming music is widespread and accessible with various platforms available to use. As a student, did you know you can stream music for as little as $5 a month with no ads? That’s often half the price of a regular subscription!

Here are some of the benefits of using these top music streaming platforms.

Apple Music

Student cost: $4.99/month after 3 month free trial

Since its launch in 2015, Apple Music has become a popular choice for listeners as it is widely compatible with Apple devices. It offers a wide selection of music and curated playlists.

Spotify

Student cost: $4.99/month after 1 month trial or free with ads

Spotify is especially popular among college students for its student discount which also includes a Hulu and Showtime subscription. Spotify is especially adept at curating personalized playlists such as their Daily Drive playlist which combines news with music and their Discover Weekly playlist with music similar to your tastes.

SoundCloud

Student Cost: $4.99/month or free with ads

SoundCloud is most well known as a platform for independent artists to post their music. Listeners have access to up and coming artists as well as popular tracks. The site is free but you have the option of purchasing SoundCloud Go+ to listen ad-free and offline.

Pandora

Student Cost: $4.99/month or free with ads

Pandora offers music streaming with their radio stations based on your favorite artists and songs. They offer a premium subscription with offline, on-demand, and ad-free listening as well.

YouTube Music

Student Cost: $4.99/month after 1 month free trial or free with ads

YouTube Music heavily features music videos on their streaming platform. Their set up is similar to other streaming platforms. Your content is also linked to your general YouTube account.

Hopefully, this gave you a glimpse into a few of the top music streaming platforms! Check out some more of our blog posts for more tips tailored to college students.

Other Student Life

10 Ways for Students to Celebrate Black History Month

February 14, 2021

February is Black History Month which is a time to reflect on the contributions of Black people in the U.S.

1. Educate Yourself

It’s always good to learn more and educate yourself on topics of Black History and issues that the Black community faces. You can find resources through your school’s library or also can find valuable content on YouTube or elsewhere online, such as David Ikard’s TEDx Talk The Dangers of Whitewashing Black History.

2. Donate to Black Non-Profits

Donating what you can to a non-profit that supports Black individuals is a great way to celebrate this month. Check out charitynavigator.org for a list of reputable non-profits that you can donate to this month.

3. Support Black-Owned Businesses

Check out these resources for locating black-owned businesses near you! It’s also valuable to note that instead of making a one-time purchase, make an effort to consistently support these businesses throughout the year.

4. Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to stay entertained and hear different perspectives throughout your day. These podcasts with Black hosts focus on a variety of topics, including 1619 and Code Switch.

5. Diversify Your Social Media Feed

Social media can take up a lot of your day. It’s easy to endlessly scroll but it’s also important to notice who you’re scrolling through. If you’re looking to diversify your feed and hear from Black creators, follow accounts like @ohhappydani on Instagram and @aliciagarza on Twitter.

6. Read a Book

Here are some books from Black authors that you can read this month. You can also team up with your friends and read it together and talk about it after. Don’t know where to start? Check out this list that includes Cicely Tyson’s Just As I Am and The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

7. Watch a Film

Make it a movie night and pick a documentary or film that highlights Black history. Check out this list of must-watch documentaries from PBS, including Freedom Riders and Slavery by Another Name.

8. Support Black Artists

If you are looking to spice up your living space or for a unique gift, check out some of these Black-owned Etsy shops.

9. Sign Up For a Virtual Event

Check out an event that your school is holding in honor of Black History Month, even if it’s being held virtually due to the pandemic. It’s always a good idea to learn more through your campus resources and to participate in dialogue with others.

10. Stand By and Support Black Students on Campus

Find ways to support your school’s Black Student Union throughout the school year and be sure to stand by Black students amidst instances of hate that are occurring on college campuses.

Make sure to continue to uplift Black voices throughout the year, educate yourself and reflect.

Adulting Health Student Life

How to Learn to Cook When Moving Off Campus

February 12, 2021

Moving off-campus is an exciting time for a college student. It is a step closer to adulthood that can be very liberating but also challenging at times. For many off-campus students, this change means they are saying goodbye to eating at their school’s dining hall. It can be tempting to start a diet of fast food, ramen, and PB&Js but there is a much healthier option that will leave you much more satisfied. Learning to cook!

Here are 5 tips on how to teach yourself to cook when moving off-campus!

Stock Your kitchen

It is important to stock your kitchen full of essentials such as rice, pasta, beans, and spices that you can have on hand when putting together a meal. It can also be helpful to invest in some basic kitchen equipment such as quality pans, pots, spatulas, and a blender. Here is a list of some kitchen supplies that can be purchased on a budget.

Conquer the Basics

When first approaching learning to cook, it can be helpful to focus on some basic meals that you can have in your arsenal on busy school nights. Learning to master some basic recipes can provide a good foundation for when you want to get a bit more sophisticated with your cooking.

Getting Started:

  • Eggs: Scrambled, fried, over easy, omelet
  • Meat: Chicken or turkey breast/thighs/drumsticks, ground beef or patties
  • Whole Grains: Pasta, rice, potatoes

Try New Recipes to Keep it Interesting

It can be easy to fall into a routine of making the same types of meals every week. It is important not only for your health but also for your well-being to diversify the foods you eat. Food blogs are a great resource to find new and exciting recipes. Blogs such as Minimalist Baker, ScheckEats, and Budget Bytes provide fun recipes for a variety of dietary needs.

Meal Prep to Save Time and Money

As a college student, life can become very hectic and it can be hard to find time to cook. Meal prepping is a great way to enjoy home-cooked meals throughout the week without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. If you take a couple of hours on the weekend to prepare your food, you can have days of healthy meals to enjoy!

Meal Prep Necessities:

  • Food storage containers – Opt for glass, it’ll last longer than plastic.
  • Baking sheets – Great for roasting large amounts of vegetables.
  • Crockpot, Instant Pot or Air Fryer – These appliances cut down on meal prep and clean up time.

Remember Balance is Key

Nutrition is all about balance. Falling into patterns of restricting your food too heavily or not eating any nutrient-dense foods can be harmful to your mental and physical health. It is important to prioritize foods that leave you feeling nourished while also enjoying the foods that bring you joy. You can enjoy just about anything (yes, even chocolate) when it’s in moderation.

Hopefully these tips will help you kickstart your cooking journey! Check out more of our posts for more information on how to manage your wellbeing in college.

Student Life

How To Make the Most of Study Abroad

August 27, 2020

Many students have the privilege to study abroad during their time in college. Studying abroad is a great way to fully experience a different culture for an extended period of time. When studying abroad you will likely have a million things you want to do. It is important to be thoughtful about how you are spending your time in order to get the most out of the experience. 

Here are 5 tips on how to maximize your time abroad:

  1. Plan ahead

It can be really helpful to plan your trips and excursions ahead of time. Once you settle into your new city and meet people who share your interests and want to travel, you can meet up with them and create a plan of cities you want to visit and how you want to spend your weekends. Although it may seem like you have all the time in the world to travel, you do only have a limited amount of time. A calendar of your trips can be helpful in making sure you visit the places you most want to see and that you can make accommodations far enough in advance to avoid hefty prices. 

  1. Take time to explore your own city

Although it may be tempting to travel to a different city every weekend, this can end up being too tiring and too expensive. Make the most of the city you are in and set aside weekends to explore. Try to look beyond the tourist spots in your city and take the advice of a local to get a more authentic experience.

  1. Walk!

Walking is a great way to explore a new city. If it is safe to do so, try to ditch the ubers and public transit and walk from place to place. This will allow you to stumble upon fascinating places you would not have seen otherwise and will also help you stay active. 

  1. Ditch the fast food

Did you really travel across the world to eat McDonalds? While abroad try to embrace local cuisine as much as possible. Although it can feel comforting to eat the types of food you are used to having back home, you won’t regret making an effort to eat new types of food. Eating like a local will help you to more fully embrace a new culture. 

  1. Choose your classes wisely

Sometimes when you are studying abroad it can be easy to forget the “study” part of your experience. It is important to stay engaged with your classes and an easy way to do this is to pick classes that incorporate the city you will be living in. This can be a history, art, or even a cooking class!

All of these tips will be helpful in having a fulfilling time abroad. Remember to soak up this once in a lifetime opportunity and do your best to stay safe and healthy throughout the experience. 

Student Life

The 10 Best Things I Bought for my Freshman Year

August 1, 2020

When you are first moving to college and getting ready to be on your own it can be overwhelming deciding what to bring. My freshman year I ended up buying a lot of things that never proved to be useful. It is important to pack smart since you will likely not have a lot of space. Here are a few things that I bought my freshman year that I still use today.

  1. A Good Mattress Pad

Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can be hard to get enough sleep amidst the excitement of freshman year. You don’t want an uncomfortable mattress to be the reason you can’t get enough sleep. If you get a quality mattress pad you can use it for years to come and you will definitely feel the benefit.

  1. Spotify Student Membership

One of the perks of being a college student are all of the discounts that are available to you. One of my favorite student perks is Spotify’s student membership. The membership only costs $5 a month and also includes Hulu and Showtime. This can satisfy all your entertainment needs and provides lots of music to study to.

  1. Yoga Mat

Exercise is always valuable for relieving stress and staying healthy. Having a yoga mat in your room is a way to workout at home when you don’t have time to go to your school’s gym.  

  1. Reusable utensils, plates, and cups

When you want to reheat some take out or have a snack, it’s always good to have reusable dishes on hand. Even if you have a meal plan, you will probably be eating in your room as well. Reusables are very handy and are better for the environment than disposables. 

  1. Weather appropriate clothing

If you are moving from a hot to cold climate or cold to hot, it is important to research ahead of time what kind of clothing is needed. You don’t want to be without a proper coat in the freezing cold!

  1. Power Strip

I would first check to see if your housing allows this but it can be very helpful to have a power strip for all of your chargers since you may only have access to one outlet. 

  1. Wheeled Laundry Basket

This may be a bit more expensive than a traditional laundry basket but it will be very useful when you are hauling your laundry to and from the laundry room. 

  1. Heated Blanket

If you are going to be living in a colder climate, a heated blanket is a necessary luxury. It can be hard to adjust to a new climate and this will give you some comfort on particularly cold nights. 

  1. HydroFlask

Staying hydrated can help you stay healthy. A Hydroflask will keep your water cold all day and is a great motivator to drink water. 

  1. Polaroids

Pictures are a great way to decorate your room while bringing a personal touch. Whether you use a polaroid photo printer or a service like Parabo, photos can help to lift your spirits when homesick and document new memories in college.

Freshman year is without a doubt going to have its excitements and struggles! Regardless, these are somethings that you are sure to invest in that you will continue to use later in life.