Browsing Tag

apartment living

Adulting Other

5 Items You Need For Your College Apartment

August 10, 2018

Congratulations, you survived the dorms! You’ll be surprised when you realize how attached you have become to the convenience of the dining hall, and the fact that your dorm was probably a quick walk away from all your classes. Sadly, all that is over and you’re going to need to cook now. And if you can’t figure out the best way to survive your lengthed commute to class, check out our comparison blog here. Now there are hundreds of articles on the web about all the junk that you can buy and use twice if you’re lucky. This post is designed to give you 5 items you will use on a weekly, if not daily basis.

Coffee Maker: Temptations are everywhere. Coffee shops surround your campus like moths to light. Everywhere you look, $7 cups of Joe are being sold, and if you don’t show restraint, you are going to blow your monthly food budget on one week of coffee. You can purchase a coffee maker off Amazon for fairly cheap, and the single cup coffee makers are a godsend for people who only drink one cup. Pro Tip: Keurig may have made this industry what it is, but you don’t have to pay their prices for the similar quality. Check out your local Target or home goods store for something off-brand, but still functional.

Basic Pots and Pans: You don’t need to go out and buy the $350 Gordon Ramsay collection, but you are going to need a few items. You may not know how to cook now, but over the course of the year, you will pick up at least a few recipes that you can make. Fry pan, saucepan, and baking sheet are the bare minimum. Pro Tip: Crock Pots can be extremely useful if you are committed to meal prep. Simply put the ingredients in, turn it on, and go to class. Come back, and you have dinner.

Vacuum Cleaner: At some point, you are going to have to clean up those crumbs from last week’s Hot Pocket. A vacuum may not be a fun purchase, but man, you will regret not buying one. A mop is a good idea too, but the vacuum is a necessity. Pro Tip: You don’t need to buy your parent’s PetMaster 3000, a small, lightweight model will do you just fine for your messy habits.

Basic Tools: For some of you this could be very foreign. “I will just call maintenance,” you say. Believe or not, they have better things to do than unscrew the shelf in your fridge so you can move it down a rung. Screwdriver (Phillips and Flathead), pliers, and a tape measure are all essentials for any living space. Pro Tip: You can find beginner kits all over the internet.

Dishes: Last, and most importantly, is basic dishware and cutlery. A few plates, bowls, and silverware will be in use at all times, so it is important you have some available. No matter how little you cook, at some point, you will need a spoon or a plate, and you can find sets of varying size and quality very easily. If you plan on doing any cooking whatsoever you will need a minimum 1 chefs knife and 1-2 steak knives. Pro Tip: A pair of kitchen scissors is very convenient, and chip clips are life savers.  

To wrap it up, there are a lot of things out there that will become a staple in your life, it will be different for everybody. But before you sink all your budget into money-grab products you saw on TV, consider how much you will actually use it. And don’t forget to cover your newly acquired items with the proper renter’s insurance through GradGuard! Would hate for all of those items to go to waste if you fill your apartment with smoke when you start to make your first Rachel Ray recipe. Get a free quote on our website today!

Adulting Other

Moving in with a Roommate: Insights and Advice

July 12, 2018

Living with roommates is a rite of passage experience for those who are in college and in post-grad life. When you move in with another person, there will always be challenges and disagreements, but there is also the potential for friendship and mutual respect. Every roommate is different, however, there are ways that you can make your experience run smoothly so that you enjoy your living space and those you share it with.

Roommate Agreement

Even if you are best friends with your roommate, before you move in and get settled you should fill out a roommate contract or agreement. You can’t expect anyone to read your mind, so being upfront from the start about your expectations for your shared space will open the lines for communication. Discuss issues that might come up–like using each other’s belongings or who will be responsible for the trash. Write down your preferences with your roomie’s, and keep a shared document in a place you can both access it if you want to add to it or reference it in the future.

The Decor Discussion

Decorations and furnishings are an important part of making your place feel like home. Before you move in, start a checklist with your roomie to keep track of what furniture pieces that you have and what you might need to get. Even if you aren’t ready to invest in big furniture pieces from a brand like Arhaus, you can check out their social media profiles, such as Instagram, for decor inspiration and then recreate their designs using different items. To ensure all roommates are involved, start a joint Pinterest page and start sending ideas back and forth. You might even find some DIY ideas that you can create together, or find ways to celebrate your shared interests or photos in your common-rooms. You can also check out our previous post to get ideas on how to decorate your dorm on a budget.

Have your Own Space

Within the space you’ll share with your roommate, try to have a place to retreat to if you need some personal time. This might be tough if you are sharing a smaller apartment or even just a dorm room. This “personal space” might have to be somewhere outside your living space, like your favorite coffee shop or a choice seat in the library. You should also be honest with your roommate if you ever feel like you need more space. They may not even realize that you feel the space isn’t being shared equally, so don’t be afraid to speak up.

Be Patient

It might take a little while to get used to your roommate, and for them to get used to you. It’s important during this time to be patient and understanding as you begin to understand each other’s personalities and habits on a deeper level. Even if you aren’t best friends with your roommate, take the time to learn a few things about them and ask them how their day was. If you understand why they do certain things, you might be more willing to forgive their more bothersome tendencies.

It is also important that you and your new roommate are covered by the proper renters insurance! GradGuard caters toward college students and offers low deductibles, student endorsements, and worldwide coverage. Learn more about our insurance offers on our website.

Health Other

How You Can Reduce End of Semester Waste

July 5, 2018

Whether you’re still attending college, or recently graduated, chances are you’ve seen and possibly contributed to the trash generated by students leaving for the summer months. From uneaten food and unused school supplies, to textiles and even furniture, the average college student generates 640 pounds of waste annually, the bulk of which is accumulated upon move-out day. However, as humans of the Earth, we have the responsibility to address our faults, and find alternative ways to reduce the waste we generate at the end of the semester.

As everyone rushes to leave for the summer and you start noticing the overflowing trash cans lining your hall, consider the ways in which you can avoid contributing your unused items to the pile. Giving your used textbooks, school supplies, clothing, and furniture a second life is a great way to reduce waste, keep them out of landfills, and potentially earn you money in the process. Although it’s nice to start fresh with brand new decor, clothing, and furniture, chances are the items you’d be throwing away could have been stored, donated, sold, or recycled. So, to put an end this cycle, we’re sharing strategies you can use to collect fewer items, and contribute less to the end of semester waste pile.

Practice minimalism – Adopting a minimalist lifestyle in college is becoming increasingly popular among individuals interested in reducing their consumption, waste production, and overall dependence on items. Keeping items that are essential to college life, and disposing of duplicate or unused items, allows individuals to become organized and efficient. Purchasing less with more intent is a great strategy and can be easily applied to many different aspects of your life. Take your wardrobe, for example: instead of buying many new items each semester, consider investing in more durable, sustainably-made textiles from manufacturers like Pact that produce durable and transitional apparel, opposed to conventionally produced fast-fashion textiles that don’t last.  

Donate or Recycle – Many student-led organizations within the academic community are collecting new and unused items from students clearing their dorms. The sustainable move-out program, successfully adopted by The George Washington University in Washington D.C., managed to eliminate 50,000 pounds of food, clothing, school supplies, textiles, and furniture from being sent to the landfill. Instead, the collected goods were donated to local charitable organizations within the greater Washington D.C. area. However, if your school doesn’t have a program like this, suggest one. Either way, by donating or recycling your unwanted or unused goods a week in advance before you move out, you’ll not only beat the rush, but you’ll also be doing your part to help reduce end-of-semester waste!

Store or Sell – Storing your goods could be another option. Not only does it make moving easier, it’s also more sustainable than throwing everything away and starting from scratch. Many schools offer storage, however, if you’re friends are local, you could always ask if they’d be willing to store your items over the summer. When it comes to things like textbooks and large furniture, try selling them through online forums, social media, or even school bulletin boards are great places to post your unused items. Not only do you make some money, you’ll be guaranteeing those items get a second life.

We hope these tips give you some insight into new ways that you can reduce your waste at the end of the semester and of course don’t forget to get the proper renters and tuition insurance through GradGuard! GradGuard prides themselves on being very eco-friendly and refuses to waste anything unnecessary. Get covered by GradGuard today by visiting our website.

Health Other

5 Tips For Buying Groceries On a College Budget

May 25, 2018

We all know college is a very busy time of your life. You are balancing classes, jobs, family, extracurricular activities, and for those who have time for it, a social life. Believe it or not, in the midst of all this you do have to eat, or you won’t even make it to that practice exam for calculus. As tempting as that might seem during exam week, eating, and by nature, grocery shopping is a skill you will need to achieve that elusive degree. That is, unless you commute from home and the smell of your mom’s lasagna is wafting into the room right now.  In which case, bookmark this page, and come back once you leave the nest. Regardless, grocery shopping on a college budget can be tough, as most of us know eating at home is more cost-effective and a lot healthier than eating out all the time, so we are here with 5 tips to help you shop like a pro!

Buy produce in season: This is undoubtedly something you have heard countless times, but who really knows the harvest calendar? You can see what produce is in season by visiting websites like the USDA Seasonal Produce Guide and the Seasonal Food Guide to keep you in the know. This will help you keep fresh foods in your fridge at great prices.

Pay attention to sale ads: Grocery stores have one goal in making these ads: to get you into the store. Their thought process is if you go to the store for one thing, you will come out with five. If you have ever gone grocery shopping while hungry (don’t do it), you know this is true. Stores will place some of their sale prices to a point where they know they are losing money on it so you will go in and buy other items. The app Flipp uses your location to find the ads in your area and shows all of them to you. So the next time your pantry is running a little low, check out the ad deals in your college town.

Check out the day-olds: Grocery stores can only keep baked goods on the shelf for so long before they cannot be sold. As they near that date, the store will place them on a separate shelf with a discounted price to sell them before they must be tossed. In no way does this mean they aren’t suitable for consumption. Loaves of bread will probably be good for another 3-5 days after they’re purchased or they can be frozen and saved for a later date. Often times grocery stores will also combine produce in bulk bags for a quick sale on items that are bruising or nearing their expiration date. Consider this another solid opportunity to cut costs while attending college. 

Use coupons: Coupons are a great way to save money on most of your staple goods and maybe some stuff you don’t need, but really want. Websites like The Krazy Coupon Lady and SmartSource are great tools to print coupons, and most stores will allow you to load certain coupons onto your store card.

Learn your stores: This comes with time, especially if you are in a new college town, but definitely pays off in the end. Some stores tend to have better pricing on certain items than the rest. You will figure out where to get your meat (or veggie burgers), where the best deals on produce will be, and where to buy your staple items. Just explore your area and find out what stores work the best for you. 

We hope these tips will help you come in under budget because we know those potato chips will come in handy when you are stress eating for that calculus exam. Happy Hunting!

Enjoy tips like these? Be sure to follow GradGuard on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest) and get informed weekly with great tips about student finance, how to maintain motivation, and college hacks!

Other Safety

10 Crucial Campus Safety Tips

August 17, 2017

The yearly return to college each fall is an exciting and significant time for students, but it isn’t entirely without risks. This year, as classes beckon you back to campus, consider what you can do to ensure your own safety as well as that of others. September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month! Here’s a quick list to help you promote safety throughout your time at school.

Walk With Purpose

It’s no secret that anyone who appears to be new in town or otherwise unsure of themselves makes an easy target. Don’t be one of those people! Wherever you go, whether on campus or around town, be sure to walk with confidence and a purpose. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and don’t be afraid to excuse yourself from any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. Go with your gut: when it comes to your personal safety, you are your own greatest ally.

Be the Leader of the Pack

It’s an immutable law of nature: there’s safety in numbers. Traveling with friends is one of the best ways to keep yourself protected, particularly if you’re a young woman who may be at greater risk. This is of critical importance when attending social events or traveling in unlit areas. Whether on or off campus, attend events as part of a group and make a pact to look out for one another. Most importantly, never leave someone alone in a vulnerable or uncomfortable situation. If necessary, leave as a group and make other plans instead.

Be Social Media Savvy

Today our digital personas are just as real as our offline lives, and what happens on the Internet doesn’t necessarily stay there. So in the interest of safety, it’s best to keep the personal details to a minimum. First and foremost, be sure to disable location services so that no one can track your whereabouts as you post. Next, think twice before making any posts that include “sensitive” information. Over 80 percent of Internet-initiated crimes – crimes in which the criminal first identifies or tracks a target online – begin through social media, making your profiles excellent resources for any would-be criminals to find your location, daily routines and nearly anything else they might want to know.

“I’ll Be Back”

Whenever you venture out and about, make sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you expect to be back. It only takes a few moments to text friends or family members and inform them of your plans, and if something should ever go wrong, you’ll be glad that you did. If you don’t show up when and where you’re expected, having someone who can check in on you can make all the difference.

Do Your Research

Every campus has resources available to help keep you safe, but they aren’t of much use if you aren’t aware of them. Take some time to find out where your local campus safety or police station is located and be sure to save the phone number. Also familiarize yourself with any other useful services, such as psychological services and wellness centers. It’s also a good idea to locate any emergency phones and automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) on campus. A sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time, and people who are quickly treated with an AED are five times more likely to survive.

Take Advantage of Safety Technology

If you haven’t done so already, sign up to get campus text alerts sent directly to your phone. These alerts will help you stay abreast of any incidents on your campus and will provide valuable safety information if necessary. Additionally, consider downloading a personal safety app to turn your phone into a pocket-sized security guard. There are many options available, all with their own feature sets, but the general idea is the same: these apps provide a way to stay in touch with friends and family, alert them to your plans and location and even send emergency alerts if you’re in need of help.

Lock It Up

There are thousands of burglaries on college campuses each year, and many of them could be prevented with one simple step: lock your doors! Make sure your roommates also understand the importance of keeping your dorm locked up securely, and never give out a key to anyone else. If you live off campus, or in a sorority or fraternity house, consider installing a basic video surveillance system or doorbell camera. If an intruder sees they’re being watched it’s a powerful deterrent, and it’ll also allow you to remotely view any visitors – unwanted or otherwise – right from your phone or mobile device.

Be Skeptical of Unknown Substances

Whether you’re out partying hard or simply looking for some Tylenol for a headache, never trust pills, liquids or other substances unless you know exactly what they are. It’s always better to pass on someone’s offer rather than risk consuming a spiked drink, a dangerous drug or some other foreign substance. Similarly, never put your drink down at a house party or in a bar.

Get Defensive

Many campuses and community centers offer free self-defense classes, and they’re well worth your time. Even if you hope never to need it, knowing how to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a physical threat is potentially life-saving. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female – everyone could use a few tips from the experts, and if you witness potential acts of violence as a bystander this knowledge could help you prevent an assault from occurring.

Equip Yourself

There’s something to be said for preparing for the worst, and that’s exactly what personal defense items accomplish. Whether it’s a small canister of pepper spray or a safety whistle, it’s worth it for peace of mind to carry one or more non-lethal defense items with you when you’re out and about.

Whether you’re finishing your degree or shipping off to college for the first time, it’s important to make sure you’re properly prepared. With the simple tips above, you can feel confident in your ability to stay safe, protect yourself from whatever comes your way, and remember that GradGuard has your back!


Emma Bailey is a freelance writer and blogger based in Chicago, IL. A Midwest transplant from the state of California, she typically writes on the social justice issues that are closest to her heart. Her interests include kayaking, watching horror movies, and finding perfectly ripe avocados. You can find her on Twitter @emma_bailey90

Other Student Life

5 Things You MUST Do Before Winter Break

December 4, 2016
5 Things You Must Do Before WInter Break

Finals, the holidays, packing for break – you’ve got a lot on your mind and a lot to do (and probably not that much sleep!), no doubt. However, before you head home for winter break from college, there are some things you absolutely MUST do to make sure you leave this semester on good note and will start the next one safely, healthily and happily!

Make Sure Your Work is Done

Before you leave, make sure you’ve gotten everything in before the grading period. Check your syllabi and fill out your course evaluations, and if you can try to sell back your books now. You may want to write a thank you note to the professors whose classes you enjoyed most, it could go a long way to keeping the lines of communication open in case you’ll want to ask them for a recommendation in the future. Wrapping up this semester is the first step in starting next semester strong.  Make sure all loose ends are tied up!

  • Check your syllabi for any outstanding items
  • Email or send a thank you note to your professors
  • Sell back your books to the bookstore or find a friend who will need your copy
  • Make sure to return any library books before the break to avoid fees

Pack Up Your Valuables

Leaving school for the winter break means your things will sit in your room for a couple weeks, without you there to keep an eye on them. Whether it’s theft or damage to the building from a snowstorm, your valuables could be vulnerable while you’re away. Take your valuables with while you’re away for so long to ensure that they’ll be taken care of – like your laptop, jewelry and favorite clothes.

  • Make sure you have a way to safely transport your laptop
  • Locate and pack any jewelry or valuables like cash

Check the Dates

Before you leave school, make sure you know when the residence halls and campus close and open back up again. If these dates conflict with your travel plans, make the necessary arrangements to either stay on campus or find somewhere else to go if it is closed. Also be sure to check your travel logistics to make sure everything still works and so you’ll be sure to be on time!

  • Check your school’s break dates and if the residence halls will close during that time
  • Confirm your travel itineraries
  • Make necessary adjustments or arrangements if above dates affect your travel plans

Clean Your Mini Fridge

This is way more important than you may realize – seriously! No one wants to come back to a moldy, smelly, little fridge stinking up your whole room, so make sure to clean it out and properly defrost it before you head home for a couple weeks.

  • Throw out any perishable food in your room
  • Clean the interior of your mini fridge
  • Defrost your fridge, find a guide here

Secure Your Room/Apartment

You’ll be away for several weeks, so make sure your room is secure and clean! You’ll want to return to an orderly space with everything just as you left it. Try to give yourself time after studying to clean up your space and make sure you secure the windows, unplug your electronics and make sure everything is good to go for your weeks away. If you have Renters Insurance, ensure your inventory is up-to-date, in case anything happens to your stuff while you are away.

  • Ensure all windows are closed tight and locked, for both weather and theft purposes
  • Hide any valuables and make sure your curtains are closed
  • Empty all trash
  • Turn down the heat, but not too low so your pipes don’t freeze!
  • Unplug any unnecessary electronics
  • Check to make sure your inventory is up-to-date
  • Lock all doors after leaving

With these tips, you’ll be ready for a relaxing college winter break! Enjoy!

Other Transition

Truly Everything You Need to Pack for College 📚

August 7, 2015
everything you need to pack for college

It’s almost that time – back-to-college will be here before you know it! Are you ready? Packing can be overwhelming, and getting started is definitely the hardest part – especially if you’re an incoming first year!

Luckily, we’ve got lists on lists that will help YOU decide what you need to bring. There’s a lot to parse through on our Pinterest board, so we’ve listed some favorite links below. Check them out and follow us on Pinterest to stay up-to-date on the latest packing dish.

Follow GradGuard’s board Packing for College on Pinterest.

Our favorites:

To help you figure out what to bring

Before you start packing, you’ll probably need to go shopping. This amazing list of questions helps you figure out What you need to know before you spend, so you can be sure the things you’re buying for school make sense, will get used, and will be worth it! This applies also to what you already have – make sure you need it – if not, keep it at home so you don’t over pack!



For first year students

This list is amazing and honest – from a real college student! Check out Courtney’s super helpful list of everything she actually used at college during her freshman year. She encourages incoming students to leave the extras at home, as it is a surefire way to make a dorm room feel smaller – great advice! And based on her blog, you know her list will have you living in style as well 😊


For help protecting your stuff

This post is super helpful for thinking about what to bring to protect all of your stuff while you’re at school. If you’re going back-to-college shopping, you’re gonna be dropping a fair bit of cash, and how much would that stink to have to replace it all if your stuff was stolen or damaged? Def bring the parents in on this one as they’ll be able to help — yes, mom and dad could have some really valuable advice. This post gives you some good talking points to review with them, and you can show them that you totally are a responsible and mature college student. Brownie points = earned 💯


For crossing things off and feeling accomplished

This mega-packing list from Bed Bath & Beyond is awesome. Not only does it notate items you might need for an apartment vs. dorm room, it also outlines different situations that may require more stuff (like no closet doors!). This list is a great starting point for figuring out what your personal list will eventually look like. It’s even printable!


Other Safety

How to Protect Your Valuables At College 📱💻📷🚴📚

August 3, 2015
Protecting your valuables at college

Before you head back-to-college this fall, take a moment to consider how you’ll protect all those things you’re running around to buy and pack up so you’ll be as prepared as possible leading up to the big move-in day. Not trying to be a buzzkill, but theft, fires, and other damages can and do happen on college campuses, and your stuff is definitely vulnerable. In fact, more than 30,000 burglaries are reported annually related to college students, including 15,000 residence hall burglaries, according to government data. And each year, fire departments respond to over 3,800 fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and barracks, according to the NFPA  – about one per campus, per year!

A little common sense with your valuables will go a long way at college (like even though the bathroom is RIGHT THERE and you’re alone at the library… still not smart to leave your laptop unattended for any amount of time…). Taking important precautionary measures will also certainly help reduce your risk. But what if the unexpected happens? For those times, you have options: insurance can help keep you and your stuff protected. If it would be difficult to replace your belongings at school due to theft or damage, you may want to consider how insurance can help.

Homeowners Insurance 🏠
Your parent’s homeowner’s insurance policy could offer you coverage for your personal property while living on campus. However, there are limitations to the coverage it’ll offer, and probably won’t offer you any coverage if you live off-campus. Ask your parents if you can review their policy to see exactly what kinds of things would be covered under their homeowner’s plan. Filing a claim against homeowner’s policies can affect their premium, and they’ll have to consider their deductible too. Try comparing the value and coverage of their current plan with a renters insurance policy.

Renters Insurance 🏢
Renters insurance can be a real life-saver for college students. Thieves on college campuses don’t have to look far to find laptops, smartphones, cash, bicycles, and electronics, a quick walk through the residence hall and it’s all there. Those items, plus clothes, school supplies, and more, can be protected by renters insurance.

Your personal property and liability may benefit from coverage from losses like theft, vandalism, fires, water damage, and more. College life is hectic enough without having to worry about how you’d pay to replace your stuff should something happen. Whether in a dorm or apartment (or anywhere in the world!), your personal belongings can be covered with the right renters insurance coverage. Make sure to check with an agent to learn more about your options. There are student-focused renters insurance plans available as well.

Regardless of what plan you choose, be sure to look for:

  • replacement cost, so you’ll be able to replace your belongings, not just their depreciated value
  • electronics coverage, so all your stuff is sure to be covered
  • check on other special limits – for things like jewelry, cash, musical instruments, to ensure your most prized possessions are protected
  • worldwide coverage, so no matter where you are, the library, spring break, etc. you’ll be covered
  • liability coverage
  • a low deductible

Learn more 📚
For a quick overview about the value of renters insurance for college students, watch this brief video.  Speak with your parents and an insurance agent to discuss options and to find the plan that’s best for you.

Other Student Life

Thanksgiving Break Checklist

November 18, 2014

Midterms are over, essays are written, and the pre-final nerves are about to kick in. That means that it’s time for Thanksgiving break! This is a great time to relax from your intense study schedule and, if you’re lucky enough to be going home for the break, spend some quality time with your friends and families. Before you catch your flight or ride home or wherever you may be celebrating Turkey Day, make sure you follow these tips to get ready to leave school!

Homework Assignments

This is one of the most important things to check before you leave for break. A lot of professors tend to have various homework assignments due the week after Thanksgiving break. I know this is the last thing you want to think about, but it’s necessary to bring home the materials that you will need to finish these assignments. Even worse, some professors will make an assignment due the week OF Thanksgiving break. A lot of people tend to forget about this because you’re not at school and don’t have schoolwork on your minds. Write this down in your planner or set a reminder on your phone. You don’t want to forget about it!

Missing Class

If you’re leaving school the day before or a few days before school officially lets out, make sure to let your teachers know! Letting them know in advance will allow you to ask about what content you’ll miss, and will show your dedication to the course material. I would go to them after class or at office hours to tell them personally. Since most professors have a lot of classes with a lot of students, sending an email is the perfect way to remind them of when you will be missing class.


A lot of students have to catch a flight to get home. If you’re one of these students, this tip is for you! Make sure to have plenty of things to do during delays. A lot of flights around this time have trouble flying due to various weather issues. If you have a delay or a layover, a great thing to do to fill this time is school work! Your brain hasn’t fully turned off school mode during this time and some information from class might still be fresh in your mind. Another thing that you can do during this time is to take advantage of the free time and read a book or catch up on your favorite show. This is a great time to finish one of those books that has a movie coming out over Thanksgiving break. Most importantly, remember to tell your parents that you have a delay so they don’t worry about where you are because I know they will.


Before you lock up your dorm, apartment, or house, make sure you do some last minute cleaning. Remembering to take out the trash and cleaning out the refrigerator of things that will go bad during break is very important! The worst thing in the world is getting back from a break and having your house smell bad. Gross! Other easy tasks to do is vacuum your floors, clean your bathroom, and make your bed. It’s always great getting back and having a clean room to sleep in!

School Policies

Different schools have different policies for leaving for breaks. These are usually to unplug everything from the outlets, turn the AC or heat to a certain temperature, throw out your trash, and open your blinds. These are just a few so make sure to check your school’s list! This is important to check especially if you’re planning on coming back to school early.

Make sure to check off these tasks before you leave for Thanksgiving break!

Other Student Life

10 College Fire Safety Tips You Need to Know

September 4, 2014
SO USEFUL - College Fire Safety Tips EVERY Student NEEDS to Know!

It’s National Campus Fire Safety month! Whether you live on or off campus, fire is a real danger in college housing – particularly in September and October. In honor of this month, take a moment to review these fire safety tips as you settle into your new college housing for the year. A few minutes spent familiarizing yourself with the features of your new building can go a long way to help protect you, and spending the time to review these tips could save your life.

  1. Make sure you know two different exits out of your building. In case one way is blocked, make sure you know two ways out. This can include a fire escape, so be sure to check the exterior of your building for one. If there is only one way out, consider purchasing a fire ladder to use in the case of an emergency. You should familiarize yourself with your two routes – if ever you needed to escape during a fire, you would likely encounter limited visibility. Look for landmarks along the route, and consider practicing. You may feel silly crawling down your residence hall floor, but it could help you make a safe exit in the event of an emergency.
  2. Check your building for smoke detectors. Look around your apartment building or residence hall to ensure that there is a smoke detector inside your bedroom and one outside your sleeping area. Call your landlord or utilities services if either is missing.
  3. Ensure all smoke detectors are in working order. Test the fire alarms in your unit to make sure they are in good working order and haven’t been disabled. Replace batteries if needed, and be sure to replace the batteries at least once a year.
  4. NEVER disable a smoke detector. This puts you at unnecessary risk and is never a good idea. Your smoke detector is your first line of defense if there is a fire in your home.
  5. If you live in your school’s residence halls, check for restricted appliances and electronics. And listen. These items are prohibited in the residence halls because they are known fire hazards.
  6. Locate any fire extinguishers in the building. Many schools and apartment buildings provide smoke detectors. Make sure you know where yours is in case of a cooking fire or small fire. If your building doesn’t provide one, consider purchasing one to keep in your apartment. And make sure you know how to use it!
  7. Treat any drills or “false alarms” like a true emergency. Burning popcorn happens (frequently) in residence halls. Even if it seems like a false alarm or a microwave mix up, any time smoke detectors start to go off in your building, get out fast. Even if it is just a drill, it’s good to get practice in your new space. You never know when you could face a real emergency.
  8. Figure out what you would want to take with you now. This will save you valuable time in the event of an emergency. Getting out of the building quickly and safely is your top priority, so items you would want to bring with you should be small and on your person or very easy to grab on your way out. If you are worried about some of your bigger ticket items, like your flatscreen TV, see tip #8.
  9. Take an inventory of your belongings in case of fire damage. Taking an inventory will help you remember what you have, and make it easier to replace your items if they’ve been damaged by a fire. By taking an inventory, you will be better able to prove what you’ve lost to your insurance company in the event of a claim. Get started with our printable inventory worksheet or visit to create a full inventory. If you don’t have insurance, check to see if you qualify under your parent’s homeowners insurance, or consider renters insurance.
  10. Check your renters insurance policy for loss of use coverage. If you have renters insurance, be sure to check if it includes loss of use protection. This feature will pay for temporary accommodations if your living space is made uninhabitable by fire damage. Where would you go if you couldn’t stay in your apartment or dorm room? These students had to sleep on a bus when a fire wrecked their residence hall. If you don’t have renters insurance, consider a plan with this feature. Be sure to check your insurance for any restrictions on this coverage.