All Posts By

Olivia Camargo

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. 

Adulting Uncategorized

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.

Health

Managing Your Mental Health in College

July 22, 2020

Mental health is becoming an increasingly big issue on college campuses. Many students struggle with the change and stress of college life. It can be valuable to investigate what you can do for your mental wellbeing. If you are struggling with your mental health, it is important to seek out resources available to you.

Here are some ways that you can better manage your mental health in college:

  • Visit your school’s counseling center

If you are having mental health concerns, you can always contact your school’s counseling services. Many schools provide free counseling or counseling at a reasonable rate. They can help you talk through whatever is troubling you or refer you to psychiatric services if needed. 

  • Utilize online resources

There are many resources available online to help you learn more about mental health and obtain support. U Lifeline, a project of the JED Foundation provides valuable support tailored to college students. Their website offers both resources and a helpline. Their website also provides a screener for students to evaluate their mental health and access their school’s resources. 

  • Practice meditation and exercise regularly

Meditation is a great way to center yourself and improve your mental health. It can be helpful to have tools that you can implement when you feel overwhelmed such as taking a few minutes to breathe or going for a quick run. 

  • Reach out to your loved ones

If you are struggling, take time to reach out to your support network. This can be Facetime with your family at home or even talking with new friends from college. Staying connected with others and communicating your feelings can relieve stress and prevent loneliness. 

  • Take time for yourself

When your calendar is filled with schoolwork and social events, it can be hard to find time to be by yourself. Set aside some time to be alone and recharge. You can go for a walk or go to a coffee shop and just take time to relax and reflect.

These are just a few suggestions on how to manage your mental health in college. You can find what works best for you and your experience. Find out what resources are available to you through your school and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Health Uncategorized

How To Incorporate Meditation Into Your Routine

July 2, 2020

Meditation is a great tool that allows students to destress and integrate moments of stillness into their everyday routines. It may feel intimidating to start a meditation practice, but you do not need to meditate for long periods of time or have a completely blank mind to be meditating correctly. Meditation can become a part of your day in subtle ways that will make a big difference. Here are some examples of ways you can integrate meditation into your daily routine. 

  1. Meditation Apps

If you have an interest in meditation you have likely heard of apps such as Headspace and Calm. These apps provide both short and longer meditations that will meet you where you are comfortable. Guided meditation is used by both new and seasoned meditators. It can be helpful to be guided through the process of meditation to maximize the time you are setting aside. 

  1. Enjoy your food

Mediation is not all about breathing. You are able to find mindfulness when setting aside time to be present and engage your senses. The time you spend eating can be utilized to create a moment of stillness in your routine. If you set aside a moment to eat one of your meals alone without any distractions you can more fully focus on the taste of what you are eating. 

  1. Take time to breathe during your chores

As a busy student, you may not have time to set aside time for meditation. A lack of time does not have to stop you from starting a meditation practice. You can meditate in simple ways like when you are walking to your next class, when you are doing the dishes, or even brushing your teeth. As long as you are being mindful of your task, there are so many possibilities for moments of meditation.

  1. Listen to music

Music can have a great impact on your state of mind. It can be valuable to take time to listen to soothing music and calm yourself. If you are feeling anxious over an upcoming exam or any other troubles, listening to music can quickly help to regulate your mood. 

  1. Mindful exercise 

Exercise is a great way to put aside time to center yourself and get in touch with your body and mind. Yoga is one form of exercise that emphasizes focusing on breath and stillness. Other forms of exercise such as strength training and cardio also include a focus on the breath and your body’s movement. You can also see what fitness resources are available at your school. There are also many virtual workouts available for free on apps such as Nike Training Club and on youtube. 

Meditation does not need to feel unattainable. You do not need to go all-in and meditate for 30 minutes away in total silence. Small moments of mindfulness add up and can improve your overall well being. Life as a student can be overwhelming so it is important to know the best ways for you to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. 

Career Uncategorized

A College Students Guide to Community Service

October 3, 2019

Community service is a great way to stay connected to the community around you while you are attending a university. It allows you to step outside of your usual surroundings and learn more about the experiences of others. There are many different types of service. Here are some examples!

Volunteer at a Food Bank

There are many food banks across the United States that provide packaged food boxes for those in need. Volunteering at a food bank may entail packaging boxes, sorting food, or helping to move and organize the boxes. This is a great place to volunteer with a group as you all will likely be able to work together. Find a food bank near you through Feeding America’s website.

Tutor at a Local School

Tutoring is a great way to share your time and knowledge. Many universities work with local schools and provide college students with the opportunity to volunteer as tutors. You may have to travel to a local school or your school may bring children to campus to be tutored. Tutors can play an important role in a child’s life so it is important that you make a consistent commitment if you wish to become a tutor. Check with your university to see what kind of tutoring opportunities they have available.

Help Out at Your Local Animal Shelter

Who doesn’t love spending time with animals? Volunteering at your local animal shelter is a great way to connect with your community and meet some furry friends! When volunteering at an animal shelter you will likely have to undergo training before working with the animals. You can check to see if your school has any groups that work with animal shelters or you could also look online to locate an animal shelter near you

Participate in a Neighborhood Clean-Up

Picking up trash is not just for criminals! Helping to clean up your neighborhood is a great way to meet others in the community and make your area a better place to live. You will be able to explore parts of your neighborhood you would not have been able to explore otherwise and meet people you may have never been able to meet. Neighborhood cleanups can be messy and typically involve a lot of time on your feet so it is important to dress accordingly. Many cities host neighborhood clean-ups so check to see if one is happening near you.

There are many more ways to serve your community! Volunteering is a great way to gain new experiences and meet new people while also doing good. Explore all of the options that your university provides for a student looking to do service.

Health Uncategorized

Essential Recipes for College Students

September 6, 2019

As a college student, you are probably already sick of eating at the dining hall and eating out can be way too costly. There is a solution to this issue! You don’t need a full kitchen to have a delicious meal. You can cook something great right inside your dorm room. Here are some recipes that are perfect for college students!

2 Minute Omelette in a Mug

This is the perfect recipe for a student who is looking for a quick breakfast in the morning. You can get a boost of protein from this customizable microwavable meal!

Two Minute Thai Peanut Noodles

This is a recipe that reinvents your typical bag of ramen noodles. Adding only a few ingredients takes a cheap and ordinary meal and turns it into something special! 

Peanut Butter Banana Wraps

This is a simple and easy to assemble recipe! If you have a busy day this is a great option for a meal you can eat on the go.

 5-Minute Vegetarian Burrito Bowl

Whether you are a vegetarian or not, this is a great lunch or dinner option for any college student. With only a few ingredients you can assemble a tasty and healthy meal in the comfort of your own room. 

Chocolate Cake in a Mug

Mug cakes are delicious and easy to make! It could be fun to invite some friends over to make mug cakes in your dorm on a cold day. 

These recipes are easy to make and will be a refreshing change of pace from dining hall food. Cooking is a fun activity to do with friends or even on your own! Having a few recipes available to make in your dorm for when you don’t want to go to the dining hall will come in handy. Experiment with these recipes and look for some of your own to figure out what works best for you!

Student Life Uncategorized

Finding Community in College

August 15, 2019

Starting a new school can be frightening, especially if you are moving far away from the friends and family you are so accustomed to seeing. There are many things you can do to feel settled on campus, but one of the most important is finding a community. When you have your own “college family”, the transition to college life is much smoother. Here are five tips that will help you to find community in college:

Attend a Pre-Orientation Program

A great way to go into college with some friends under your belt is attending a pre-orientation program. Many colleges are offering this as an option to incoming freshmen. It is a great way to connect with people who have similar interests as you and are also new to the university. This is also a great way to become acquainted with the university before campus becomes busy. 

Introduce Yourself to People in Your Dorm Hall or Apartment

You never know if your new best friend is living in the dorm right next to you! It can be a great idea to keep your door open when you are in your dorm and go around and say hi to your neighbors. 

Join Clubs!

Clubs are obviously a great way to meet others who have similar interests. There are so many different options for clubs that students can join. There are many clubs that specialize in different interests and cultural backgrounds. You can feel more at home if you can connect with people who come from similar backgrounds.

Volunteer

Another way to make connections is through volunteer work. Volunteering is a great way to get out into your community and meet new people. Many universities provide opportunities to do service on campus and in the surrounding area. 

Make the First Move

When you are starting out in college, it is important to put yourself out there. If you are proactive about meeting new people are fostering friendships, you should have no problem finding your community on campus.

With the new year beginning, be sure to remember these tips from GradGuard and get comfortable with your new home! It truly is the best time of your life so be sure to enjoy it.

Student Life Uncategorized

How to Find Your Perfect Study Spot

August 15, 2019

As a college student, it is important to figure out how to effectively study. This is a crucial aspect of finding success in college. There are many options for places to study on and off-campus and it is helpful to figure out what works best for you. Here are some options to consider when looking for your perfect study spot:

The Library

This is a classic option for students who are seeking a quiet place to study. Your school’s library may contain different areas for those who prefer different levels of silence. The library may also have different resources such as tutoring and study rooms available to students. This is a great option for many students but is far from the only place on campus to study.

The Student Union

This is a great option for students who are looking for a more lively place to study. If you prefer more background noise this may be the place for you. If you go to your student union, there will most likely be many tables, chairs, and couches for you to study at. Your student union likely gets very busy, so you may have to figure out the best time for you to go. One downside to this study spot is that it may be distracting if you run into lots of people that you know and are easily caught up in conversation. 

Your Dorm Room

This spot can be a hit or miss depending on your situation. If you have a roommate this may not be the best option. It can also be an issue if you are studying on your bed and not a desk as you may be more prone to falling asleep. If you desire privacy when studying this may be a good choice. This may also be a good option on days when you are feeling sick or don’t have the energy to leave your dorm. 

A Local Coffee Shop

A coffee shop is a great choice for students who have a desire to study somewhere off-campus. Depending on your location, there may be many choices near campus. It can be fun to explore your area and hunt for the best local coffee shops. Many students find it helpful to go off campus to study in order to better concentrate and find motivation.

Outside

When the weather is nice, it could be a great change of pace to study amongst nature. Find some friends and scope out a nice patch of grass on campus or travel to a local park to soak up some sun. Be careful when studying outside because although it may be a good option for some it could be distracting for others. 

Throughout the semester, it could be helpful to try out different locations to figure out what works best for you before finals season begins. There are many options that extend beyond this list that may be available to you depending on your college. Have a fun time testing out different study spots and studying strategies

Check out GradGuard for more information on how to make the most out of your college experience and follow us on social media @gradguard to stay up to date on new information.

Health Uncategorized

How to Fulfill Your Dog Fix On-Campus

July 30, 2019

It can be difficult saying goodbye to your childhood dog when leaving for college. When you are moved into a dorm room you may feel a longing to spend time with a furry friend. As a college student, there are a few different ways that you can go about finding some canine companions on campus.

Hang out in outside common areas or a local park

Although you may not have a dog on campus, there are probably many students and professors on campus who do. If you spend time outside in common areas on campus, you are likely to see dogs being walked or playing with their owners. It is important to always ask the owner before petting the dog and to also make sure it is not a service animal. If you do not see many dogs on campus you can also check out a local park. 

Keep an ear out for any therapy dog events on campus

Many universities are now hosting programs where therapy dogs are brought in to help relieve stress around midterms and finals. Universities such as Kent State, Seattle University, Tufts University, and New York University hold events that provide students the chance to destress with therapy dogs. These programs have been successful and are becoming increasingly popular on college campuses. 

Volunteer at a local dog shelter

A great way to get your dog fix and also do some good is volunteering at your local dog shelter. Animal shelters are always looking for new volunteers and it’s likely that there is one near your campus. You can search for opportunities near you and check to see if your school provides opportunities to volunteer (you might even get class credit). 

Skype with your dog back home

This may seem a little silly, but Skype and Facetime are great ways to connect with family and friends so why not skype with your dog? Next time you are talking to your family, have them grab the dog and have a little face to face time with your favorite pooch. 

Dogs can bring so much joy to your day and there is no need to have a dogless college experience. If you are missing your dog back home, follow these tips from GradGuard to brighten your day and de-stress.

Student Life Uncategorized

A College Students Guide to Thrift Shopping

July 9, 2019

Second-hand stores are a great resource for college students who are looking to stay true to their style while also not breaking the bank. It can seem daunting if you are unfamiliar with second-hand stores. Here are some tips that can help you begin your thrifting journey.

Find the right store for you

There are many different options when it comes to second-hand stores. There are an array of different thrift stores that cater to different price points and interests.

If you are looking for a store selling vintage goods there are many shops that exclusively sell these types of products. Vintage shops can be reasonably priced, but an older piece may also come with a larger price tag. There are some stores that sell vintage items that are repurposed or considered high end which can be very expensive. It is important to remain aware of this when looking for vintage clothes.

Another type of second-hand store is one that is curated to the latest trends. This can be a good option for someone who wants an easier thrift shopping experience and is also willing to spend more than they would at a more basic second-hand shop. Buffalo Exchange and Plato’s Closet are examples of second-hand chains that fall under this category. These stores will allow you to sell your clothes to them in exchange for store credit or sometimes cash. They will, however, be selective in what they choose and the store credit you are given in exchange may be minimal. The location of these stores can also play a role in price and variety as the selection will vary by area.

A common option for those looking to go thrift shopping are basic second hand stores such as GoodWill and Savers. These stores are often affiliated with charities but are also owned by big companies. They often sell a wide variety of clothes and also often sell furniture and knick knacks. It can be a tedious task to find something that suits you, but that makes it all the more rewarding when you find a diamond in the rough. These stores are a very affordable option for students and you never know what treasures you may come upon.

Have an idea of what you are looking for

When first walking into a thrift shop, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the clothes available. It can also be easy to want to buy all sorts of things you never knew you needed. If you are trying to stay on a budget it is important to have a game plan before shopping. Try to go into the store with an idea of what you want to buy and also how much you want to spend.

Check the condition of the clothes

If you find the perfect blouse that comes from a high priced brand but is priced insanely low, you may feel that it is too good to be true. This could be a lucky find but you also may have come upon a damaged piece. If the damage is limited it may still be worth buying but it also may be unwearable. Even when the price is not abnormal it is important to check the clothes you want to buy for any tears and stains.

Have fun!

When you have the right attitude thrift shopping is a fun experience. It is a great option for college students who are looking for an affordable wardrobe. Thrift shopping is a fun thing to do with friends and you will feel great when you are able to show off your thrifted goods.

Remember to follow @GradGuard on social media for all your college tips, tricks, and hacks to adulting!