Browsing Tag

college student success

Health Uncategorized

The Best Spotify Playlists for Students

October 7, 2019

We all like that rhythm and blues, right? Whether it’s studying, walking to class, or working out at the gym, having the right tunes is essential to any college student depending on your mood and activity! Here are a few of our favorite playlists on Spotify that are perfect for students!

Lo-Fi Beats

This playlist is perfect for the student that needs a little noise to study but doesn’t need the distraction of actual voices singing. Lo-Fi Beats adds that little something to your ears to drown out other things around you and helps you chill out and focus a little more. Other playlists like this one include Lo-Fi Cafe, Study Beats, and Sunny Beats.

Headbanger Halloween

Now, don’t get wrapped up in the title of this one. It’s perfect for workouts, hangouts, or the Halloween party you said you weren’t planning to throw this year. Filled with upbeat tunes with a “creepy” undertone or lyrics. This is the perfect playlist for fall! Don’t disregard it as it will bring up your spirits and get yourself into that spooky fall mindset.

Mellow Drive

This is a go-to for anyone who thrives on those late 90’s-early 2000’s classics; lot’s of Matchbox Twenty, Train, and Jack Johnson. This could be a good station for some light studying or walking to class on-campus. It picks up your spirits and lightens your mood, but be careful, you will probably end up singing out loud.

Your Daily Drive

If you commute to school, this is definitely one you want to look into. This is a station that is completely catered towards you and is handpicked for your taste in tunes. It is a completion of the music you like on Spotify, combined with news stories to keep you up to date with what is going on in the world. If you commute to school via car, bus, or train, this is a good one to help pass the time.

Confidence Boost

The ultimate playlist for the gym or a run around campus is Confidence Boost! Filled with upbeat songs to keep you motivated and going, this playlist is ideal for anyone needing that instant pick me up. You will be belting at the top of your lungs to hits from Kelly Clarkson, Pink!, and of course, Lizzo. Dance your way around the gym with this playlist and definitely give your confidence the boost that it needs.

Well, there you have it! Five playlists that are perfect for students depending on your mood or activity. Be sure to follow them now and it will surely be music to your ears. Pun intended.

Career Uncategorized

Knowing How to Finance Big Purchases

October 4, 2019

Grand vacations, weddings, and house purchases are all financial commitments that you might consider in a single lifetime. They’re exciting milestones, but they can be incredibly expensive. Spreading out the purchaser’s cost with financing is the easiest pathway to take. Learn how to finance big purchases with a few tips from the professionals. Those lofty dreams are achievable with smart spending.

1. Know Your Budget

You are the only person who knows your budget. Calculating your monthly expenses, such as rent and utilities, is unique to every individual. Take a look at any leftover funds at the end of your billing cycles. These are the funds that are available to pay for your big purchase.

Figure out this amount well before heading to any store. It’s tempting to walk into a shop, listen to the sales pitch and end up with a larger purchase than you intended.

2. Consider a Large Down Payment

The best way to finance a big purchase is by putting down a large amount on the item before financing the rest of its cost, reports Discover. The down payment can be in any amount, which reduces your monthly cost and interest-rate charges.

For example, you know how much to spend on an engagement ring before you select the jewelry. Pay for 20 or 30 percent of the ring’s price right now, and finance the rest over a few months or years.

3. Use the Credit-Card Trick

Financing a large purchase on a credit card isn’t always the best idea. The interest charges across a year or longer will be staggering. As an alternative, look for cards that have an introductory period of around 18 months, encourages Equifax. Use these 18 months, which are free of interest, to pay off the debt. You end up financing the item without taking out a loan.

4. Think About Personal Loans

Almost all lenders offer some type of personal loan. You can always use this financial tool when you know that a monthly payment over a long period of time is possible. Use loans for those purchases that might be tens of thousands of dollars. You’ll secure a reasonable interest rate for a fixed period. Credit scores might dip as you apply and secure the loan, however, but they will improve with on-time payments.

5. Shop Around

You aren’t limited to your local shops for certain purchases. The Internet gives you a glimpse at the unprecedented competition. When sellers must compete, you save money.

Comparison shop online and in your town, suggests Quicken Loans. You might find the same ring or other items for hundreds of dollars less than you thought before. Open up your mind to jewelry sold from an artist or small business. There are more outlets for big purchases today than ever before.

Everyone falls into financial struggles at some point in life. Continue to assess your budget and save whenever possible. Major purchases are part of a unique life that you can be proud of as success follows your every move.

BIO:Brett 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.

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.

Transition Uncategorized

Top 5 Way to Save Money After College

October 3, 2019

There are 3.6 million college graduates living in poverty, and it’s to be expected given not only factors such as student loans and other college-related debt, but also the difficulties one might experience when obtaining a job in their field or the starting wages at these jobs.

Creating a Budget

You hear it all the time and not to be a broken record, but creating a budget is the first step to saving money, especially as you start paying back student loans or other debts. Right now you’re probably getting notifications that you need to start paying off your loans, you’re having to move out of student housing, and basically, this whole being-an-adult-thing is about to get a lot harder!

You can do this though! And the first step is creating that budget. It doesn’t need to be fancy. You can even use a free template on Excel or Google Docs. Make sure to carefully document all sources of income and all expenses, even the ones you might want to ignore. If you’re not sure where to start on paying your student loan debt, there are great calculators and resources available.

Saving $$$ on Food

Don’t worry, you don’t have to eat ramen the rest of your life — although there are some fun ways to spice up that cost-effective meal! But a good chunk of your expenses may be coming from food. Apps like Mint actually track how you spend your money and you might be surprised to see how often you eat out or how much those “treat yourself” items at the grocery store are costing you. A great way to avoid those last-minute splurges is creating yourself a meal plan with a shopping list, allowing yourself to be only one spur-of-the-moment item.

Meal planning isn’t just for being healthy, although that can be a great perk, but it’s great for time management and budgeting. Simple, cheap meal plans will help you save without living off rice, beans, and ramen!

Cut Back on Utility Bills

A lot of us may have had the luxury of free or discounted internet and TV while living in student housing, but now that we’ve graduated, we’re having to deal with these bills on our own. A great way to cut down bills is to really examine what you need: Do you really watch cable or do you watch Netflix or Hulu? You might even be able to cut down on your internet speeds. An internet connection with 5mbps, though not ideal, is enough to stream and browse the internet.

Getting Married? Don’t Worry!

And then there’s the biggest expense of all—marriage! If you’re one of those ‘lucky’ ones about to make the big commitment dive into marriage, you’re probably stressed about a long list of expenses ranging from booking a venue, the cost of a wedding dress, and all the things that come after. What if you don’t get the things you need most on your registry? And if you’re the one getting to propose, you might be worried about the cost of a ring. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that complicated!

There is even a list of venues that won’t cost an arm and a leg. And if you’re still looking for that special ring you might consider an eternity band that offers special financing and a wide array of options for various budgets.

 Creating Long-Term Goals and Building Credit

Two of the most important things to consider after graduating from college are your long-term goals and how you’re going to obtain them. One of the biggest factors for obtaining our long-term goals (such as buying a house) is building our credit. There are important factors to pay attention to when building your credit, such as staying on top of your student loan payments, credit card usage, and ways to avoid negative marks are your credit. There are also options for credit repair if you’re already suffering from negative items on your credit report.

Whatever your goals may be, there are many paths to take, even when you’re fresh out of college and still sorting everything out. If you start saving now and planning for those special life plans, there’s nothing you can’t achieve! 

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.

Transition Uncategorized

4 Years, 8 Semesters, 120 Credit Hours

September 24, 2019

This task ahead of every full-time college student. For some, it will take longer and others shorter. This usually means that a student will have to take about 15 credit hours per semester. Some students take more.

Accommodating

Many college students have to work while they are in school and it can be a major challenge to manage a coursework load and an employee workload. Thankfully there are multiple solutions to manage 120 credit hours and 20-40 hr work week. Online classes and summer classes are just two of the options available to lighten the load allowing for students to achieve academic success while not having to be stressed out over the balance between working and completing school. 

Online Courses

Online classes are great ways to give students more control over managing their time. An online class does not have a set time that students have to attend a lecture. There are due dates for assignments and as long as the student is able to complete the assignments within the time that is due they are fine. Online classes allow students to work from wherever and whenever they want to. Some students will work on their academic material while they are at work. 

Summer Courses

Summer classes are extremely effective in allowing students to get more work done over the same amount of time. Just think, if you take two summer classes in between every spring and fall semester then you would only have to take 12 credits per semester instead of 15 and still graduate on time with 120 credits. Another great reason to take summer classes is that they keep the mind going. Students will be working hard during the school year and then after finals week of the spring semester, they will enter summer break mode. While it is nice to take a small break from schoolwork, a three-month-long break is not healthy for staying in the academic groove. Working out the mind is very similar to working out the body. If one does not continue to workout the mind it will become sluggish, making it difficult to start the next fall semester. But taking a couple summer classes allows students to continue exercising their mind but not to the point that it’s a burden. Keeping a small connection to academics during the offseason will make the transition back into the academic year a swift one. 

Navigating the course of college is not a simple task. It takes grit, determination and strategic planning. 4 years, 8 semesters, 120 credit hours. This can seem like a lot being thrown at you but there are plenty of ways to lighten the load and smoothen the path. Taking online courses and summer classes are just two ways to help simplify the college management process. Learn more about college tips, tricks, and hacks by visiting the GradGuard blog.

Health Uncategorized

Can Pets Improve Student Mental Health?

September 12, 2019

If you’re a student living away from home for the first time, it can be hard and sometimes lonely adjusting to your new life. More and more students are facing mental health challenges, but what if you could take a familiar friend from home with you?

The likelihood is, if you’re living in student accommodations, you might not be allowed to keep larger pets such as cats or dogs. However, many landlords will let you keep smaller animals such as fish, hamsters or even guinea pigs. 

Taking a pet with you to university or college not only makes the transition easier for you, but pets have also been proven to improve students mental health too. 

Here are three myths that we have busted and scientifically proven, relating to pets and mental health.  

Myth #1: Pets Can’t Reduce Anxiety

Having a pet can help to reduce your anxiety and stress levels, even a pet as tiny as the popular Guppy fish can help alleviate stress. 

A study carried out in the 80’s found that simply watching fish swimming in an aquarium can reduce anxiety levels by up to 12%. 

A second study conducted much more recently by the University of Exeter and Plymouth University found that watching fish ‘led to noticeable reductions in participants blood pressure and heart rate.’

Large animals can also help to reduce stress. This study, carried out in an educational environment found that just ten minutes of petting a cat or dog can reduce anxiety levels. 

If you’re feeling anxious at starting new classes, taking exams or even making new friends at your school, having a pet can really help to reduce anxiety and make student life as fun as it’s supposed to be for you. 

Myth #2: Pets Can’t Help Depression

Students that own a pet are less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t. Larger animals such as dogs encourage their owners to get out and exercise and get some fresh air. 

Fresh air and walks are now being recommended by some doctors for people who have depression symptoms. 

Having a pet can help you connect with people from special interest groups, such as Fishkeeping Groups, Dog Groups or even Reptile Groups. 

Pets are very empathetic, and offer a lot of emotional support, especially since they can’t actually talk back! They just sit and listen, offering a really soothing presence. 

Even pets that are as tiny as crickets can help to alleviate depression symptoms. 

Myth #3: Having a Pet Will Make Me More Isolated and Lonely

Sometimes people think that if you have a dog or small pet which you need to take care of that you’ll be more isolated. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Firstly, having a companion living with you can make you feel less lonely. It’s someone to talk to when no-one else is around and is just generally nice company. 

Pets not only become great friends but can also encourage you to get out and meet other like-minded people who share the same pet or interests.

If your studies, being away from home and exams are causing you stress, or even depression, why not consider welcoming a new pet into your life?

If you can’t have any kind of pet in your dorm room, you should think about volunteering at a local animal shelter, or maybe becoming a local dog walker so you can interact with animals daily! There are also different ways to get your animal fix when you are on-campus–just keep an eye out for those stress-relieving events.

BIO: Robert Woods is an avid fish keeper and advocate for all things fish related, including the many mental health benefits which can be derived from keeping fish.

Health Uncategorized

6 Life-Changing Healthy Habits for the Busiest College Student

September 11, 2019

College is a great place to learn, make friends, and try new things. With so much to juggle, you may notice your health taking a backseat. No need to worry, though. Here are a few simple healthy habits you can start implementing right now to set yourself up for success!

1. Don’t Skip Meals

When you’re constantly on-the-go with a hectic schedule, it can be difficult to eat three proper meals throughout the day. You may start to miss or even skip meals, leading to weight and energy changes and disruption of your overall health. Eating every few hours is crucial for your health as it helps keep your brain alert and elevates your mood. 

2. Join a Fitness Class

Trying to find the drive to go to the gym each day can be nearly impossible when you’re in college. However, staying active is crucial for various aspects of your health. It promotes restful sleep, weight maintenance, energy, and serves as a great stress reliever. If the gym isn’t your thing, there are various easy ways to get moving and maintain motivation. Most colleges offer fitness classes for credits, which is great for not only prioritizing your fitness but boosting your GPA as well. 

3. Take Care of Your Skin

Your skin serves as an external reflection of what’s going on inside of your body. Anything from stress, poor hygiene, eating habits, to your water intake can affect the health of your skin. As a college student with a full agenda, it’s not uncommon for your skin to experience some adverse changes. First, reflect on potential external factors, such as stressors and diet, and determine what you can do to combat these. From there, work on creating a skin-care regimen that’s easy to follow. Your skin will be back on track in no time!

4. Utilize Telemedicine

Telemedicine allows you to connect directly with a healthcare professional online. From there, you can receive a proper diagnosis and even a prescription sent straight to your door. Too sick to go to the doctor? This is the perfect time to speak to a health professional online. Or, if you’re in a new city where you don’t have a specialist, you can leverage telemedicine to get the care you need. Are you taking care of your skin with a new regimen as suggested in section 3, but nothing’s changing? Contact a dermatologist online to get a prescribed acne treatment sent right to your dorm room. Technology is making prioritizing your health even easier.

5. Avoid Liquid Calories

Getting that caramel macchiato before class sounds like a great idea to stay caffeinated, but is it really? Many coffee beverages are filled with sugar, causing you to crash much harder later. Sodas, certain teas, and energy drinks can also contain large amounts of sugar as well. Try to swap your coffee for a plain one and trade flavored drinks for water to stay hydrated throughout the day. If you’re not a fan of water, try infusing fruit into a water bottle for added flavor. 

6. Practice Stress-Relieving Techniques

College can be stressful, there’s no doubt about it. Although you can’t always prevent stress from happening, you can find healthy techniques to help you deal with stress. It’s important to find a technique that works specifically for you and your needs. Common methods include yoga, meditation, walking in nature, journaling, talking it out, or going for a run. Once you find one that you enjoy, be sure to practice it whenever you’re starting to feel overwhelmed.

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!

Transition Uncategorized

Cutting College Costs Like a Boss

August 29, 2019

Tuition costs continue to rise every year, but one thing seems to remain constant: attending college often necessitates penny-pinching. Whether it’s eating out less to buy textbooks or applying for scholarships to avoid debt, saving money and attending college go hand in hand.

Here are some of my methods for reining in your spending, hopefully earning a buck or two on the side, and still enjoying a four- (for some five-) year education—without resorting to dumpster diving.

Read on for five tips to help you cut costs.

1. Limit eating or drinking out (unless it’s a good deal)

Scour your local watering holes for deals, become a coupon clipper, and refuse to go out unless you know you won’t have to pay full price.

In general, though, you’ll save a lot more money if you buy groceries and cook yourself. Or, if you’re fortunate enough to live close to home, you could always mooch food off your parents.

2. Student discounts

It’s incredible how many businesses will give you a discount if you flash that plastic, poorly printed student ID of yours. Restaurants, movie tickets, admission to concerts, you name it. Don’t know for sure? Just ask! Maybe you can even persuade them to give you a discount.

3. Be shrewd with textbooks

Here is some advice: get clever. Talk to classmates, read reviews on the course, and see if you really need the book for the class. If you do, consider renting instead of buying (which is generally cheaper).

Or, try to buy it cheaper online. Look on Craigslist, OfferUp, Facebook, or your college forums. You could even harass people who took the class last semester to loan you their old one.

Finally, if you can get away with buying an older edition of the same textbook, you can save a TON of money. It doesn’t work for every class, but when it can, it’s a godsend.

4. Get a side-hustle

No amount of saving will help if you don’t have even a small influx of cash. In college, your earning options are limited:

  • Get loans and go into (more) debt.
  • Beg your parents for money.
  • Apply for scholarships.
  • Get a job.
  • All of the above.

If you haven’t searched for scholarships yet, what are you waiting for? It’s free money, and sometimes you can earn them for ridiculous things. Good at duck calling? Scholarship. Is your last name Zolp? Scholarship. Check out your college’s .edu site, find some scholarships, and apply!

If you don’t want to write an essay, you could always get a job on the side. You could drive for Uber or Lyft when it’s convenient for you. Don’t have a car? Work one of the many jobs available on campus (conveniently within walking distance!). There’s no shortage of jobs if you’re willing to look.

5. Profit

Those are just a few tips, and it barely scratches the surface— college students should consider the importance of insuring essentials

Bio: Alex Enabnit, an ASU grad and certified tightwad, is an insurance and Medicare writer for Eligibility.com. In his spare time, you’ll find him trying to avoid the sun and stay cool while failing at both.

Transition Uncategorized

Finding the Best School For You

August 15, 2019

For many high school seniors, the transition period between high school and college can be just as stressful as it can be exciting. One of the major stress factors during this period is deciding what college students are going to attend. Many factors go into this decision.

The Basics

There are some general things to look at when choosing a school; price, location, school size, grade/test score requirements, available programs, and student living conditions are just a few of the main aspects that future college students are looking at. A great way to narrow down the search is by figuring out three things that you want in a college. From those three categories, you should be able to gather a list of 5-10 schools that interest you. 

Go On a Tour

The next step is to make your best effort to visit all of the schools you are focusing on. The visit is one of the most important steps of picking a school because it gives you the option to try the school on for size. Just like a pair of shoes, you will not know if it’s a comfortable fit until you check it out in real life. When visiting the school try to schedule a guided tour. It’s the best way to get the most out of your visit. Tour guides are normally students who know their way around and can highlight some important areas of the campus. This also gives you the ability to ask questions. Asking questions helps ensure you know as much about the school as you possibly can.

Take Notes

After each visit, be sure to make notes of the highlights. Having a physical list in front of you can help with the decision process; you are able to see the pros, the cons, and the things you might need to know more about before making the big choice.

From here you should be able to make an educated and confident decision of the school you will be attending. While making this decision can be stressful,  gathering as much information about the schools will make the process go smoother. No matter your preferences, if you put in the due diligence, finding the right school to put you on the path to success is possible.