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How Being Eco-Friendly at College Can Save You Money

July 10, 2020

Embracing a greener lifestyle is a great way to improve your carbon footprint and help leave a positive impact on the world. But did you know that it can actually save you money, too? Here are some easy ways you can benefit financially from a more eco-friendly college experience

Avoid Single-Use Anything

If you haven’t already, it’s time to ditch the plastic water bottles and to-go coffee cups and opt for a more sustainable option. Every single minute, the world uses one million plastic water bottles, so do what you can to help cut back on that. Take it a step further with reusable grocery bags and avoiding disposable utensils.

Temperature Control

One of your sneakiest expenses can be hiding in your utility bills. Bouncing back and forth between temperatures can be costly, as well as bad for the environment. During warmer months, you’ll probably be tempted to crank the AC in order to stay cool. Instead of turning down the thermostat, you can keep your room cool without using as much energy by getting blackout curtains. You should also make sure that you’re only turning the light when you’re in the room and need it on. Check your air vents, or talk to your landlord or property manager, to make sure they don’t have any dust or debris buildup that could hinder your home’s cooling efficiency. 

Go Digital

Instead of taking notes on paper, try using your laptop or tablet instead. Not only will this save paper, but you’ll be spending less on notebooks and pens. You can even voice record your lectures and listen to them later on. 

Change Your Commute

Consider riding your bike to work. Not only will you incorporate a fun workout into your day, but you’ll also be helping to relieve stress. It can also help you save money on transportation expenses like gas and auto maintenance. If a bike ride doesn’t work for you, look into other options like carpooling or taking public transportation.

Re-think Your Textbooks

Tired of expensive textbooks that you’ll never use beyond that one course? Look into used book options! Many websites and local bookstores offer buy-back programs on previously-used books. Not only will this help you save money in the beginning, but it also gives you the potential to earn money back once you’re done with it. Another great option is to use digital versions of textbooks. Oftentimes you can buy downloadable copies right from the publisher, for pennies on the dollar of what the paper textbook would cost. An added perk? Many of these include updated annotations or dictation, so you can better follow and understand the content as you go. 

Get Thrifty

Why pay full price on anything when you can get great items for a fraction of the cost? Whether you’re looking for a quirky piece of furniture or new clothing, you can find just about anything in thrift stores if you look hard enough. 

Turn it Off

Turning off or unplugging electronics that you’re no longer using is one of the easiest ways to curb your use of power. Hit the lights when you leave a room, and unplug chargers when you’re done using them. Then take it one step further and cut back on your water usage while you shower, brush your teeth, or do the dishes.

Working towards a greener lifestyle doesn’t have to be an overnight thing. It’s a process, and it’s okay to take as much time as you need to ease into it. Making small changes through the day can lead to lasting effects down the line that your planet, and wallet, will thank you for. 

Health Other

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. 

Health Other

These four common medical conditions affect thousands of college students

June 26, 2020
Student medical conditions on the rise

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of college students across the country to adjust to online-only learning. Although the virus has disrupted classroom instruction, the reality is that every year, ordinary medical conditions lead to students leaving school and losing money. And we’re not talking about having the common cold, or making a trip to the on-campus health clinic. These medical conditions are proving to have a major impact on students nationwide.

The 2019 National Student Health Assessment from the American College Health Association data reveals some of the risks that college students and their families face today. As we all adjust in the time of COVID-19, you can see the common illnesses that have a big impact on students. The assessment surveyed more than 30,000 students across 58 different schools.

Common illnesses have a big impact on college completion

The most commonly reported illnesses that had an impact on completing a degree include concussion, mononucleosis (mono), pneumonia, and flu or flu-like illnesses.

student health conditions and academic progress

During a normal semester, most schools provide a pro-rated refund through the fifth week of classes, according to a national study from Dec. 2019. This same study reports that 70 percent of schools have reported a growth in student medical withdrawals.

The ACHA assessment confirms the scale and impact of health conditions on college completion is real. The calculations are based on a total of 8.16 million full-time undergraduate students attending four-year non-profit institutions. 

These four conditions that students report delayed their academic progress are estimated to have cost students and schools more than $1 billion annually! And that’s from preventable financial losses.

Health conditions may lead to an unexpected withdrawal

The ACHA data reveals other student health conditions that may also disrupt an academic term or lead to an unexpected student withdrawal. Nearly a quarter of students reported experiencing anxiety, followed by just under 20 percent reporting depression. Celiac disease, PTSD, eating disorders and bipolar disorder followed. 

If you’re experiencing one of these health conditions while in college, you should know that that there are resources to help you get back on track to complete your education. GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance can provide refunds for tuition and academic fees if you unexpectedly need to leave school for a covered reason.

Health Other

Hard Time Sleeping? Here Are a Few Reasons Why

June 11, 2020

Understandably, there will be times in your college career that you have a hard time sleeping – sometimes, you might think pulling an all-nighter is the best way to get ahead with your studying. Other times, you might be consumed with anxiety over a difficult class. Or there could be other reasons you’re chronically having trouble getting quality sleep. Looking at those potential areas of trouble can help you to both improve your health and your concentration, and ultimately help you to do better in school.

Screen Time

As a college student in the digital age, you’re certainly getting a lot of screen time. Maybe you’ve got online homework, carry a smartphone, and you have easy access to other media on streaming services and social platforms. It’s easy to lie in bed at the end of the day and scroll through your phone, but this could be affecting you as you try to fall asleep. Research shows that screen time, especially right before bed, can make it hard for you to fall asleep. In fact, a study shows sleep can be interrupted in direct correlation with how much time you spend with your screen, meaning that 15 minutes of screen time might mean four minutes of less sleep, and so on.

Additionally, if you’re still in your teens or early twenties, your brain is still developing. Research shows your prefrontal cortex – the area in charge of higher reasoning – is still formulating up to age 25. Restorative sleep is vital in promoting a healthy brain, including cognitive function, hormone regulation, and metabolism. Lack of sleep can lead to obesity, depression, and other health issues. Turn off your screens – including your phones, iPads, laptops, desktop computer, and TV – two hours before you go to sleep to help your body understand that it’s time to shut down and get the restorative rest that you need.

Stress

College has its fun and joyful experiences and is a time to make new connections with your peers, and maybe even enjoy a social gathering or two. But there’s also a lot of stress – you may be living away from home for the first time, and there may be stress associated with living in close quarters with people you don’t really know well (and maybe aren’t compatible with). You may have been excited to start your college courses and have added on one too many classes. You may be changing your eating habits, exercise habits, and overall routine. All of it is a disruption, and it’s natural that you may face some disruption in your sleep as well.

A few tips can help you to manage the stress that can lead to sleep disruption. Take an honest look at your class schedule – you may be interested in that 300-level course in philosophy, but do you need to take it this semester? While your university experience is a time to explore different academic areas, work with your advisor to ensure you’re first getting the required courses in and not overloading yourself with classes, especially as you’re adjusting to college life. Make sure you have some healthy time just for you. Look into your college’s extracurricular offerings such as yoga and meditation classes for an extra way to relax– the time spent will pay off in better sleep and, therefore, a clearer mind.

Diet

It’s super easy to rely on pizza deliveries and junk food, especially when you’re stressed and short of time – but a poor diet, even for resilient young people, can actually increase your stress and therefore make it harder to sleep. While you may feel invincible in your twenties, a poor diet can have a long term impact on your health, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Think of it like starting a savings account – you may not have much in there to begin with, but it all adds up the older you get.

Take advantage of your college’s meal plan. Hit the salad bar and take advantage of the healthier offerings like vegetables, whole grain offerings, and fresh fruit. Or, if you’re on your own for meals and short of time, grab the pre-made salads and healthy meals from the grocery store. Additionally, stay away from the Red Bull and caffeine-boosters, to pull those all-nighters (which are terrible sleep interrupters anyway). And while you may have plenty of opportunities to socialize after hours, lay off the alcohol, which despite being a depressant, can actually cause you to lose quality sleep.

Remember, your college also may have free opportunities to see a counselor if your insomnia, stress, or alcohol use become problematic. Remember that you’ve made a major life change by starting your college career, and seeking additional help to adjust may be just the extra hand you need to sleep easier.

Health Other

6 Things You Might Not Know About Mono

May 27, 2020

Mononucleosis, more commonly known as “Mono” is relatively common among college students. It is caused by the spreading of the Epstein-Barr virus through saliva, mucus, and sometimes even tears. Many call Mono “the kissing disease”, because it is notoriously spread through kissing, but here are some facts you might not know about the disease.

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How More Music, Theater, and Dance Boosts Students’ Writing Scores: Top Secret Tricks

April 17, 2020

Writing assignments are an inevitable part of education, but they prove to be too stressful for many students. Multiple factors influence the writing scores including stress levels, understanding of the subject, creativity, the level of critical thinking, among other things. If you are looking to improve writing scores then music, theater, and dance could help you out. How? Let’s see.

Visible results

Students measure their results and success by things they see and although this seems obvious, writing doesn’t provide that. How? Writing assignments involve developing an argument or composing a paper on a given subject. Then, the student submits the paper to the teacher and waits for the results. For students who struggle with writing it can be difficult to assess their success and the level of progression until they get the score. Dancing, singing, and performing arts are different. The student can immediately see how well she or he is doing. How does this translate to writing you wonder? Well, doing well in performing arts gives confidence boost they need to express their thoughts, opinions, and emotions in the paper and develop or improve writing skills. 

Self-evaluation 

Performance of any kind calls for a great deal of self-evaluation. Whether it’s music, dance, theater, or something else the student will always assess the strengths and weaknesses looking for something to improve. The habit of self-evaluation can also serve in the improvement of writing scores. It teaches a student to take a look at the paper from a different angle and identify parts where improvement is necessary. Habits developed with performing arts can easily apply to the writing skills and their development and better scores ensue. 

Stress relief through conquered challenges

One of the biggest advantages of theater, dance, and music is their ability to manage stress and anxiety. Academic life is stressful and, as you already know, stress harms overall performance. When engaging in performing arts students learn how to manage and relieve stress levels which can help them feel calmer when writing and composing their assignments.

Enhanced cognitive abilities

Performing arts such as music lessons, dancing, theater, and others can boost cognitive skills in students. For example, studies show that music lessons can enhance language-based reasoning, short-term memory, planning, and inhibition in students. Stronger cognitive function improves how students express themselves, sharpens critical thinking, and makes them overall more creative. All these factors are necessary for great writing scores. 

Conquering fear

Students tend to worry a lot about their teacher’s reaction to the paper. They are scared to express themselves out of fear it might lead to negative remarks. However, writing scores don’t work that way. Engaging in dancing, music, or joining drama group helps students conquer the fear and focus on themselves and their performance only. You learn how to be the best you can be without constantly thinking about someone else’s reactions. The freedom you experience when performing arts can help you conquer fears in writing assignments as well. 

Better writing scores is what most students want, but aren’t sure how to achieve it. The answer is simple; join a drama group, sing, play an instrument, and perform arts in some other way. Confidence boost, stress management, enhanced cognitive functions are some of many reasons why performing arts can help improve writing skills and contribute to better scores. They teach us how to feel free to express ourselves and evaluate the performance to keep doing better and better each time.

BIO: Kathrin Garner is an enthusiastic journalist and writes articles on social issues. As an activist, she takes part in the FV KASA program, which is a discussion platform on relevant cannabis topics. She searches for current issues and writes about it to a wide range of readers.

Health Other

Online Games to Play with Your Friends

March 16, 2020

In the midst of recent events, many college students are advised to stay inside and keep to themselves. Now, this can be great for introverts who have been waiting for this kind of thing to be socially acceptable their whole lives, but for those who will start to miss human interaction, here are a few games you can play online with your friends to pass the time!

Crash Team Racing

One of the best on the market, obviously. A revamp from the late 90’s, this is a great racing game to play with a friend or seven.

Dead By Daylight

If you are interested in survival games with a strategic twist, go for this one! You can get it on Steam, Nintendo Switch, and just about anything else! Play with 3-4 extra other friends for the best experience. Though this one is not for the faint of heart. You’ll see what I mean.

World of Warcraft

I know, I know. This can be a trigger for some, but this is a great one to play with a friend or two, PLUS it takes a long time. It can be easy to get sucked into the world of Orcs and magic, so give it a shot! Best played on Steam.

League of Legends

Let’s ignore the salt factor of the community and focus on the fact that it is a fun MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game to play with up to 9 other friends! If you get that many you are able to start a party and play against each other. It’s a PC game that is usually downloaded from their website.

Super Smash Bros

This one doesn’t even need a description. Use it to get all that anger and frustration out! Mainly played on Nintendo systems.

Fortnite

Another survival meets combat game that most of us know about. I know that things can be a little iffy when it comes to these well-known games (you either love them or you hate them), but take this time to try out something you might not usually go for!

Man of Medan

Not much should be said about this one because it’s more fun to work and play on your own. It’s a game that is solely based on the idea of the butterfly effect and you choose the direction your characters go down. It can be played with up to 4 friends.

You can also go for classic games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Left4Dead as they are always options to play with your friends. Regardless of the game you choose, be sure you get Discord and a good headset to chat with your friends on! You can even use it just to talk to each other instead of just doing the regular group text.

There you have it. Staying inside and keeping healthy is key over the next few weeks, but it doesn’t mean you have to eliminate communication with people! Try out some of these online games to play with your college friends and stay safe.

Health Other

The Doctor is Out: Non-Medical Career Paths in Healthcare

March 9, 2020

Maybe you’ve always thought about a career in medicine, but blood isn’t really your thing. Or maybe you’ve actually embarked on a career as a healthcare provider, but the road is long, and you’ve got to make ends meet while you chase your dreams. The good news is you have a lot of options for pursuing a career in the healthcare industry outside of the practice of medicine itself.

Think About What You Want

As you explore your options in the healthcare industry, you’ll want to consider not only what kind of work you want to do, but also what you need from your job. Before you accept a job, you need to ensure they offer a benefits package that serves you today as well as tomorrow, especially if you’re considering staying for the long haul. Ensuring that your prospective employers offer benefits, such as retirement and medical, dental, and vision insurance, can help protect you now and well into the future.

The Good Enough Job

If you’re not yet ready to settle into your forever job, you can still find great ways to make a solid living while you work toward your ultimate career goals. For example, if you’re a medical student looking to earn some income and garner some experience in the healthcare industry, there are a lot of great sites you can turn to. Major job boards like Indeed and Monster can help you tailor your job search to your particular requirements, while other sites like College Recruiter are dedicated specifically to helping undergraduate and graduate students connect with prospective employers.

Turning a Job into a Career

If you’re ready to start your career now instead of waiting on that advanced degree or those years of clinical training, you don’t have to abandon the healthcare industry to do it. There are endless options for stable, well-paying, and richly rewarding jobs in the healthcare industry. For instance, if computers, as well as healthcare, are at the top of your interests, then why not combine them by pursuing a career in Big Data and healthcare AI?

Or you may want to be a bit more hands-on while sparing yourself the rigors of med school. Studies show that careers in home health are among the most in-demand and fastest-growing in the US. Or, if you’re ready to commit yourself to a bit more time in school, you can build an exciting and very lucrative career with a Masters’s degree in health law and policy!

The Takeaway

Even if you feel a career in medicine isn’t for you, that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your interest in the healthcare field. Whether you’re looking for a temporary job in the industry to make ends meet while you cultivate vital professional experience, or you’re hoping to launch your professional career, your options are virtually endless. The healthcare industry has something in it for just about everyone, from health AI and Big Data to home healthcare to health law. So do a little exploring to find the career path that’s tailor-made for you!

Health Other

Tips for Eating Healthy in College

January 21, 2020

When you are in college, especially if you are living on-campus away from home, it may be overwhelming to figure out how to eat. From the plethora of on-campus food choices to dining halls, it is easy to eat too many calories or go overboard during your first year at university. Here are some ways that you can ensure that you are eating well but still enjoying what your campus has to offer. 

Make Health Conscious Dining Hall Choices

One of the biggest advantages of living on campus is that you will have access to the dining halls, which more often than not are buffet or all-you-can-eat style. These can be to your benefit or detriment, depending on what you choose to indulge in when you decide that you want to have unlimited food options. If you are eating breakfast before heading to class in the morning, try opting for whole-grain alternatives rather than greasy bacon or a calorie-laden omelet. You should also be conscious of everything you choose to put on your plate. 

Use Dense Nutrition and Supplements

Even if you are trying to eat as healthy as possible, it may not be enough to be nutritionally sufficient so that your body can operate at its best. To combat this, it may be best to try supplements or condensed nutrition, which you can take in capsule form or add into smoothies and shakes. For instance, green or red superfood powder is often packed with fruits and vegetables that will give you energy and a myriad of health benefits. 

Find Easy Dorm Recipes

Living in the dorm rooms, you may think that you do not have any ways in which to cook on your own. However, there are many simple recipes that you can utilize if you want something to eat with only microwave access. Make a board on Pinterest or a simple list of microwave alternatives to some of your favorite foods, such as macaroni and cheese, the classic Top Ramen, and even desserts in mugs, like chocolate cakes or brownies. This way, you can eat from the comfort of your dorm, save money, and avoid going to the dining hall. 

Pack Filling Snacks

When you are on the go during the day, it can be all too tempting to stop for a slice of pizza or other indulgences in between classes. However, these snacks are often processed foods that contain calories your body will burn through quickly. Instead, try keeping some snacks in your backpack so that you can combat hunger without spending unnecessary money on calorie-laden options. Some great snacks that are nonperishable include whole wheat crackers, banana chips, trail mix, or whole-grain pretzels. Be sure to pack more than you think you need before you leave your dorm room for the day. 

You do not have to worry about gaining weight when you experience university life for the first time. With these tips, you are sure to be able to eat healthily and make the most out of living on-campus.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Health Other

Campus Care: Sickness and Strength at School

January 2, 2020

Going to college and living on campus is a new and exciting experience. Less exciting, however, is being sick and far away from home. Trying to overcome an illness and meet deadlines simultaneously can feel like trying to achieve mission impossible. 

The winter months are a prime time for people to come down sick, and this is especially the case for sleep-deprived students cramming for exams. If you’ve recently gotten sick, or are prone to doing so, here are a few ways that you can quickly recover and get back on your feet this winter. 

Beef Up Your Immune System 

When you’re sick, it’s sometimes instinctive to want to curl up in bed all day and binge on your favorite shows. Although this is a valid way to recover, you should also look for ways to strengthen your immune system by giving your body the nutrients it needs to fight off the illness and germs. 

WebMD recommends you eat enough fruits and vegetables, as studies show that people who do this don’t get sick as often. Consider vegetable soup or fresh fruit juices. Drinking enough water is also important, as it will flush out illness from your system and keep you hydrated.

Be sure you are practicing proper hygiene, as well, to avoid getting yourself and others sick. Do this by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, or the duration of a rendition of “Happy Birthday” or the ABCs, and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Disinfecting your room and hands will also help keep the germs away. 

Look for Helpful Resources 

Most college campuses have health and medical services on campus or in the surrounding area. Find out where yours is located, what hours they’re open, and if they have walk-in services. This would be helpful if you’re experiencing symptoms like a temperature above 102, abdominal pain, vomiting, severe headaches or any other worrying symptoms.  

Although a common cold or flu is something you can typically get through on your own, you should still reach out for support. Tell your family and friends that you aren’t feeling well so they can help you with things like picking up medications, bringing meals, and tidying up if you’re too weak to do it. 

If you’re feeling mentally and emotionally overwhelmed, make the best use of resources student care offers, whether it be a counselor or other mental health services, as your mental health has a profound effect on your physical health. Efforts are being made to make mental, emotional, and physical care more accessible to students. Seeing if they can help you in any way could mean you’re opening yourself up to receive collective and community support. This will, hopefully, help you get back to feeling better holistically and improve your performance long-term.

Get Enough Rest 

Sleeping is a critical part of recovery when you’re under the weather. However, college students often struggle to sleep because they’re pulling all-nighters, working part-time, or dealing with stress. In light of this, try your best to get enough sleep and not feel guilty about it. Getting into the routine habit of sleeping enough is not only good for you when you’re ill, but it can improve your academic performance. You’ll feel well-rested, less stressed, and be able to more easily concentrate. 

If you’re worried about how you’ll meet your deadlines, remember being down and out with the flu doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything else. Organize your workload while you’re in bed resting and do less strenuous but urgent tasks. Don’t overexert yourself! The rest can be done once you’re feeling better. 

If you’re ever sick on campus, know that it isn’t something you have to endure alone. Surrounding yourself with a loving support system and practicing self-care is the best way to get well soon.

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.