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dorm living

Other Student Life

Why College Students Need Renters Insurance

April 4, 2022

In back-to-school mode, you and your parents may be caught up in the whirlwind of college life you have found yourselves in. With so much new information and experiences happening all at once, you or your family members may not think about some things when you head off to college. One of the most important things to consider when settling into your new residence hall, apartment, or condo is renters insurance.

Why you may ask? As a student, you are potentially bringing thousands of dollars worth of possessions to school, from electronics to books to laptops and even furniture. If your laptop gets damaged or stolen, how would you replace it? What about your clothes if your dorm room floods? These items may not break the bank to replace individually, but the costs can definitely add up! Have you ever thought about what ALL of your stuff costs, together, all at once? It may surprise you! That is why it’s so important to take an inventory of what you bring with you to school. The data collected from the 2021 school year estimates that the total estimated cost of living per year for students, including food, housing, clothing, phone plan, and other things, is around $14,435, with an additional $2,316 on personal items.

The Break Down

Before you head off to school, it isn’t out of the ordinary to purchase many new things to go into your dorm room or apartment.

These dorm room items can include:

  • Bedding: Sheets, Pillows, blankets, duvets
  • Bath Items: Towels, robe, caddy, shower shoes
  • Decorations and other personal Items
  • Appliances: Microwave, TV, mini-fridge
  • Study Supplies: Calendars, planners, desk accessories
  • Storage: Drawers, baskets, bins, containers
  • Electronics: Gaming devices, iPads, speakers, streaming devices, cameras, computers, hard drives, headphones

These are just a few examples of what you can bring to campus, and when all added up, it can cost thousands of dollars. This doesn’t include your personal items such as clothes, bags, shoes, and other things you have collected over the years that are important to you. With such a wide range of prices on these items, leaving them unprotected should something unexpected happen isn’t worth the risk.

GradGuard: The Smart Choice

Colleges, universities, and off-campus property management companies don’t replace stolen bicycles or backpacks, but GradGuard College Renters Insurance can. Our coverage provides unique student-focused coverage through an exclusive student endorsement. That means you’ll have access to features that you can’t find in a standard homeowners insurance policy or other companies.

Here are a few examples of GradGuard’s student-focused features:

  • Low Deductible – Our standard deductible offer is only $100 when you file a claim, no matter the item.
  • No Credit Scoring – We took into account that you may not have a great credit score or even one at all as a student. No matter your credit history, everyone on-campus receives the same price.
  • Worldwide Property Coverage – Your belongings, including rented property, can be protected from covered perils anywhere in the world! If you are traveling home from school or studying abroad, GradGuard has got you covered.
  • Personal Liability Coverage – If you are hurt or unintentionally damage your place of residence, we may be able to help.

GradGuard College Renters Insurance was made with students in mind, unlike other renters insurance providers. If you file a claim, your rates won’t go up, and there are no sneaky sub-limits on electronics coverage. Our coverage protects physical items you bring to college (up to the policy limits) from things like theft, fire, smoke, vandalism, wind, sprinkler system discharges, and more.

You can also view a sample policy to learn about some more of the specifics of our coverage.

Other Considerations

Homeowners Insurance

If you are not the first person in your family to head off to college, you and your parents may think that you have everything under control. Your parents’ first instinct may often be to look into their current homeowner’s insurance. This is important to look at, but the coverage it can offer you as a student away at school may not be enough. Most of the time, a homeowner’s insurance policy will only extend to cover some of your possessions and may have a really high deductible.

A big downside of using this coverage is that making a claim on the homeowner’s policy may raise premiums. Homeowners’ policies often have limits, exclusions, and certain conditions that you can’t rely on to automatically cover you and your belongings while you’re at school. You may be better off just replacing that couple thousand dollar laptop out of pocket. Or even better, opting for GradGuard!

Landlord Protection

Many parents believe the landlord will cover damages when it comes to liability. More often than not, a landlord’s insurance only applies to the building itself, not the resident’s possessions within. Double-check with the landlord and ask what their insurance policy would cover should a theft or other disasters occur. Having your own insurance policy is a great way to ensure that the things you bring along with you to school are protected.

Another common myth is that renters insurance is too expensive and unnecessary. Even though it is an added expense, the benefits outweigh the costs should any disaster occur and your belongings suffer damages that could put you out thousands of dollars to replace on your own. Renters insurance is a great way to prevent significant financial loss and encourage students to start thinking responsibly about their belonging and move towards adulthood.

Health Student Life

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

February 2, 2022
Working out in college

Exercise is about so much more than just physical strength. While it’s primarily your body that benefits from regular exercise, your mind is greatly uplifted by frequent movement, too.

You can think of exercise as a way to kill two birds with only one stone—physical strength and mental strength. College students are almost always in need of a boost to keep them going throughout their studies, which is why exercise is so important.

Exams, all-nighters, night shifts, and extracurricular activities all require a significant amount of mental and physical energy.

If you’re feeling bogged down and foggy-headed with a mountain of work to overcome, consider hitting the gym or park. It’ll give you a performance boost that stretches through the classroom and into all areas of life.

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Health Student Life

The Importance of Sleep in College

January 27, 2022
Importance of Sleeping in College

There are a lot of factors that contribute to getting an adequate amount of quality sleep, especially in college. Quality is a keyword here, as it doesn’t only matter how much sleep one gets, but actually how well one sleeps. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep is vital because it plays a vital role in your health and maintaining your well-being throughout your life. Getting consistent and good quality sleep can help protect your physical and mental health by supporting healthy brain function, growth, and development. Not getting enough good sleep regularly could lead to a lot of serious issues. 

In college, getting adequate amounts and quality of sleep becomes increasingly important because it directly affects your ability to learn, retain, and apply the information and knowledge being taught in class. Getting a consistent amount of sleep can be challenging each night, but figuring out a schedule and routine is crucial to having a successful college career. 

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Student Life

7 Tips to Create the Perfect Study Environment

November 17, 2021

Many essential factors, both good and bad, contribute to a person’s academic success. However, looking at all the possible things that could go wrong won’t do you any good. You will create doubts and demotivate yourself.

Instead of thinking about things that could go wrong, be proactive in setting yourself up for success. The best way anyone can do this is to create an environment where they thrive as learners without any distractions.

People often overlook their study environment, but it can make a huge difference in how well you perform.

Stay organized

Being organized is crucial when it comes to studying. We’re not talking about the learning process itself. Sometimes it’s random, and you can learn with different techniques.

Start with cleaning up the clutter. Set the time when you will start learning and make sure that you don’t have any other obligations. Ensure you won’t be bothered by using headphones if you’re studying in a library or public place, or letting your roommates know not to disturb you.

Make your study environment optimal and organized. If you’re using a computer, consider getting different types of power cords that can help you hide all the wires and make your work area neat. Keep all your learning materials in a single place, and be prepared to start learning at any time.

Find a suitable study location

People study in all kinds of different places. No matter where you are studying, you need to feel comfortable without distractions. Consider studying in your bedroom, office, the library, a coffee shop, or a co-working space.

Some people can also learn in shared learning spaces, so think about these options as well. Once you find a spot you like, stick with it and create your routine around it. And remember, switching up your learning location can also be a good thing from time to time.

Keep your phone away

One of the biggest distractions today is the smartphone. Nearly everyone is used to being on their phones at any given moment during the day. We have a habit of looking at phones while drinking coffee, in bed, on the toilet, and so on.

It’s a very negative habit when it comes to studying. Reaching for your smartphone can not only disrupt your current learning process, but it will also likely occupy your mind with irrelevant information. Turn your phone to silent mode and if you have to, move it into another room. If you get notifications on your laptop or smart watch, remember to mute those as well!

Try music

There are many studies that explore the effects of music on our brains. Music can help us in so many different ways, and some people can even learn better with music. They use it as a tool to keep things fun and go through their lessons more easily.

Let’s face it when you’re doing something while having fun – it’s a lot easier. Many people say that music helps them, but there is also research that confirms the benefits of music for studying. Classical or jazz music can be nice to listen to when you’re in a good study zone. If you could handle lyrics and changing beats while you’re studying, try another genre!

Make it comfortable

Taking care of practical things like noise, distractions, and clutter is essential. However, the visual experience of your study environment is also significant. Decorating your learning space with pictures, flowers, lighting, furniture, and comfy pillows can make learning easier.

At the same time, make sure to get a comfortable chair and desk so you feel more inclined to use it. Studying from your bed or couch may sound nice at first, but it might be a little too comfortable and make you sleepy.

Avoid spending time in that space when you’re not studying

When you’re spending too much time in one room, you can start to feel drained, even when you’re not studying. Everyone needs a change of scenery, especially when they’ve been studying for several hours. If you want to feel comfortable in your environment, get out of it whenever you can.

Even while you’re studying, make sure to get up, stretch, and walk to your other room or even go outside. Getting the blood flowing even for a few minutes every 30 to 90 minutes can do a lot of good.

Get inspired

What are your goals, and what motivates you to study? These are the questions you need to ask yourself. Once you’ve figured that out, make sure to add posters, photos, desktop backgrounds, quotes, or anything else that inspires you to your study room. When you’re lacking drive or motivation, you can look at these inspirations in your study room and move forward.

With these seven tips, you can easily create a more enjoyable work environment where your knowledge will grow. However, don’t make it too comfortable so that you fall asleep while studying – it’s still a learning environment, not a gaming room.

BIO: Rebecca Grey is a passionate writer & guest blogger. She loves writing and sharing her knowledge mostly in the technology industry.

Student Life

Student Guide on How to Stop Overspending and Start Saving

November 11, 2021

Being a student is one of the most exciting phases of one’s life. Financially, this is the ideal time to experiment with your ideas and get a head start for adulthood. The challenge, though, is how to make ends meet with the limited resources you currently have. After all, just a night of overspending can lead to disastrous results down the line.

Fortunately, there are a lot of steps that you can practice to prevent overspending and learn more about personal financial management. In this article, we are going to share some of them with you, particularly those that we have already tried and tested for years:

1.  Make use of last year’s books.

According to Academic Matters, an average student spends more than $1,000 on books and other learning materials per year. While putting them to good use is the best way to make the most of your investment, there is another way to get (at least) some of your money back. Take good care of your textbooks because you can still resell them for a good price once the school year’s over. Check out your campus bookstore for buy-back programs, or sites such as Amazon or Chegg.

2.  Enjoy savings for this year’s books.

While we’re on the topic of textbook savings, you can use similar tactics for books you have yet to purchase. Look into buying used textbooks or renting them. Many times, you can still. write and highlight in books you rent, so it shouldn’t impact your study habits.

3.  Know your discounts.

Since we are already talking about Amazon, did you know that they have an Amazon Prime student program as well? This allows you to sign-up at half the price of their regular plan, take advantage of significant discounts, enjoy free food delivery, and more.

Meanwhile, Amazon is not the only company that offers discounts to students. Don’t forget other types of bonuses as well. For instance, groceries typically hold late-night discounts for perishable items that didn’t sell during the day. Take the time to find what’s available near you and you might be surprised how a little effort can stretch your dollars further.

4.  Plan your expenses and shop smart.

There are different types of budgeting systems but for students, we highly recommend starting with something simple like the envelope system. It won’t require any expense recording but it will make sure that you live within your means.

Don’t automatically assume that you need to buy everything as well. You will need a lot of things when you’re moving into you’re venturing out into the world for the first time, but don’t think that you would need to buy everything brand new.

There’s no shame in asking around whether your family and friends have some things that you might need just lying around unused, such as old pieces of furniture or kitchen appliances. Other items, like the power tools you’ll need to assemble your own furniture, can also be rented as needed.

We also recommend alternative methods such as point-of-need financing. You can use it to buy bigger educational-related expenses, like a new laptop or a printer. You might even need a small fridge or a microwave for your dorm room. This will allow you to get what you need and pay for them through smaller and more manageable monthly payments.

5.  Explore new interests.

Binge drinking, excessive partying, shopping, and even vaping are all hobbies that are not just irresponsible, they’re quite costly too. Instead, consider exploring fun and inexpensive hobbies!

For example, there are affordable musical instruments that you can start learning how to play. Getting a chess set is pretty cheap and you can spend your whole life contemplating on its 69,352,859,712,417 possibilities and still not master it.

Are you a fan of working out? There are campus gyms that offer free memberships for their students, teachers, even the alumni. The fun that comes with college parties can still be enjoyed, just not overdone!

6.  Take advantage of more affordable forms of entertainment.

A lot of campuses offer free (or really affordable) forms of entertainment such as movie nights, museum passes, and cultural shows. We also recommend skipping a costly cable package. Try a streaming service instead, like Netflix or Hulu. Amazon also offers Amazon Music and Prime Video as part of the student program we have featured earlier. Talk to your roommates and see if they’d split the cost on one or two streaming services for you to share.

In fact, when it comes to music, there really is no need to buy tracks these days. You can simply use free streaming services like Spotify or Pandora.

7.  Share food and space with your friends.

You can further pull down your monthly expenses by splitting the cost of your rent and utilities with a roommate. You can even plan your meals together and share grocery expenses. Splitting the responsibility of cooking and cleaning up is unbeatable!

8.  Review your life skills.

Speaking of cooking, it will save you a lot from eating and spending money on take out. We know how convenient it is, but it is financially smarter to just cook your own dinner rather than reaching for Uber Eats every other day. Save those splurge nights for really special occasions.

Riding a bike is another way to save money in college. Car payments, insurance, parking passes, and gas can really add up, especially if you are on a student budget. If you really need a car, you could rent one for the day or utilize a ride share service. But a bike should be enough if you live on campus or close by.

There are certainly other methods to save money as a student, but the ones we have mentioned above are good points that you can already start practicing. Good luck!

Student Life

Guide to Decorating Your Dorm Room (+ DIY Ideas)

October 29, 2021

If you’re headed to college, you probably know about all the expenses you’ll need to make, and decorating your room is one of them. 

Decorating a dorm room can be a fun activity, but it can be expensive. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to avoid spending all your savings on dorm room items

Why It’s Important to Decorate Your Dorm Room

  • Dorm rooms are often small, so you need to choose the right decorations to maximize all the space and make the room look larger.
  • If you have a roommate, using the right decorations will help you get more privacy.
  • You’ll likely spend much of your time in your dorm room, so it’s important to make it as cozy as possible.
  • Decorating your dorm room can be an exciting activity and can help you relax when first move there.

DIY Dorm Room Ideas

1. Create Artwork

If you’re a creative person, you can create art to embellish your dorm room. To get started, get your paint, pens, or other means of creating artwork, and get to work!

2. Create a Photo Wall

As you start out college, you’re probably going to miss many of your friends and family members. To make them feel closer, create a photo wall and hang photos that will remind you of them every day. Then, you can add photos of your new friends to the photo wall and keep the collection growing.

2. Print a Door Hanger

Using a door hanger is one of the easiest ways to decorate your dorm room at nearly no cost. There are many you can find available for free online. Just be sure you print them out on card stock to get the best results!

3. Hang Seasonal Decorations

When vacations are coming closer, you might start missing your family. To get a holiday vibe as soon as possible, hang seasonal decorations and lights to combat homesickness.

4. Create DIY Curtains

Your dorm room probably already has curtains, but that doesn’t mean you need to keep those. Nor do you necessarily have to buy expensive ones. To personalize your dorm room, consider creating your own curtains by simply using fabric fuse tape and swatches of fabric.

5. Optimize Your Space

Like we mentioned, when dealing with a small space, it’s important to optimize its use. Start with the shelves. Use open, corner shelves or hanging shelves to organize your books, frame, and more without using all the dorm room. 

6. Use Items to Stay Organized

In addition to clothes, you need to optimize the space for your smaller items too. You can use an expandable drawer for utensils, a hanging jewelry organizer for your precious metals, and a cosmetics organizer for your makeup tools.

7. Pick a Theme

To really let your personality come through in your dorm room, make sure you pick a specific theme. First, use your favorite colors for your sheets and furniture. If you’re passionate about music, consider hanging posters of your favorite bands. If you’re a sports fan, you can use your team’s colors and gadgets to make your form room more interesting. Consider creating a zen environment in your dorm room.

Personalizing your dorm room with decorations, no matter how simple or extravagant, can make your space feel warm, inviting, and comforting. Keep these ideas in mind as you begin the decorating process!

BIO: Originally from Rome, Italy, Giacomo Rotella holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Hult International Business School. He’s an experienced marketer with a focus on SEO.

Health Student Life

Why College Students Should Exercise Regularly

October 14, 2021

College can be daunting and exhausting. For some, managing their time well has become a part of their daily routine. But for some students who can’t handle college life well, focusing on several activities at once could be an overwhelming process.

As a college student with more than one stressor, keeping a healthy routine that includes regular exercise is essential. It’s not only great for physical benefits, but it can also rewire your brain.

Here are seven crucial reasons college students should incorporate exercise in their daily life.

Improves Concentration and Focus

You may not know it now, but a workout can help improve your concentration and focus.

When you exercise, you allow your brain to stimulate new cells. This can help boost your overall well-being, including concentration and keeping the mind focused. Such activity can result in being more productive in your school work and could help you ace that exam you’ve dreaded since the start of the semester.

Relieves Stress

Stress is one reason some college students fail to get a passing mark. We’re not generalizing the scenario, but we all know how stress could affect students’ study habits.

While stress can do that to people, exercise can counter the decline in neurotransmitters. As such, your brain will produce endorphins that could generally make you feel happier or relaxed. It could even lessen your chances of experiencing heart attacks or stomach problems.

Enhances Memory

The brain cells found in our hippocampus are responsible for the formation of memories. It’s also where you dig up and recall memories that are in the past.

So when you study for a quiz, you use the cells in your hippocampus to store and form memories that could help you remember what you’ve read. It’s a helpful tool when you sit down on your chair and start taking the quiz.

But like every cell in our body, they tend to diminish. To avoid losing your brain’s power, use exercise to help build a better block for your memory. It boosts the creation of these important cells that could make an impact on your college life.

Stimulates Brain Cell Development

Our brain is a beautiful machine. It’s what keeps our bodily functions moving and fighting against external stressors.

However, the most exciting part of the brain is cell development that could help us improve our lifestyle.

Treat your brain as your physical body. To be able to function well, you have to feed it with essential nutrients. That includes maintaining a healthy exercise routine.

It’s essential to stimulate brain cell development at this stage in your life. That’s because it’s where you juggle school activities and the troubles of being an adult.

Builds Immune System Strength

At this point in your life, you’d want to avoid getting sick at all because missing one school activity can drastically affect your class standing. Building your immune system should be a top priority, especially because stress can attack your body in ways that you don’t expect.

Regular exercise is one way to boost your immune system. It will allow your body to fight off the common cold, flu, and sometimes even severe health conditions.

Improves Physical Health

Of course, the first thing you’ll notice when you start exercising is developing your physical health. You could quickly feel your muscles being pumped and improving your strength and endurance.

Exercising can include visiting the gym, doing home workouts, yoga, pilates, or even joining your school’s hiking club. Remember that you should pick a flexible regimen that could fit your schedule and match your physical capacity to move around.

We recommend making an outdoor trip once in a while to keep you inspired and to avoid the effects of burnout. You may not have the whole outdoor adventure gear, but to keep walking sticks for hiking in your college dorm is enough to last you an hour or two out in the wild.

Boosts Your Mood

We’ve mentioned earlier the effects of endorphins in our bodies. It’s essential to keep a positive vibe for most of the days during your college years. It’s a basic weapon to survive the most grueling tasks of beating deadlines, maintaining a grade, and learning from all your subjects.

You can improve your mood by doing light to moderate exercises at least three times a week. You may think that squeezing in a 30-minute exercise into your already busy day is hard. But you can achieve this without sweat with proper time management!

Student Life

8 DIY Dorm Room Storage Tips for College Students

March 23, 2021

Dorm rooms are notorious for being small, crowded, and in most cases, outdated. To make matters worse, you either end up sharing a dorm room with a complete stranger or living in close quarters with no break from a friend. Dorm life can be stressful! Add clutter into the mix and it’s a recipe for frustration, anxiety, and an overstimulating environment. Most dorm rooms are equipped with a bed, desk, and dresser for each inhabitant, but have minimal open floor space no matter how you lay the room out.

The good news is that there are ways to make your dorm room a more comfortable, livable space by increasing storage and reducing clutter. Here are the top DIYs to keep things neat and tidy in your dorm.

1. Add Shelving: In a dorm room, shelves are your best friend! While many dorms have restrictions on what can and cannot be installed on the walls, there are shelving options you can purchase or DIY that are made to sit on your dorm desk. They are raised enough to not infringe on your workspace while still offering convenient access to things you may need, like books and chargers. Plus, if you have a cat, they’ll love this idea too. Cats always need a space up high to rest and observe.

2. Make Use of Underbed Space: The beds in dorm rooms are usually relatively small and lightweight, making them good candidates for being set onto risers. The higher your bed, the more storage space you open for yourself underneath. The options for shelves, baskets, and tables that can comfortably sit underneath a dorm bed on risers are virtually unlimited.

3. Don’t Waste Door Space: The back of your dorm room door and closet door are perfect spots to add more storage for bulky items, like shoes, and small items, like jewelry and makeup. Over-door storage bags are available with all kinds of different shapes and sizes of cubbies and pouches. There are even shower curtains with storage pockets that you could DIY into back of door storage.

4. Baskets: You can find baskets in all sizes and materials, with some being cute and made to be seen, while others are better kept put away. You can even purchase plain baskets or “ugly” baskets and DIY them into something that suits your aesthetic. Regardless of the kind of basket you choose, you can use baskets for just about anything. Dirty laundry, food, school supplies, and hygiene supplies can all be kept in baskets, making for easy access without adding clutter. 

5. Get a Rolling Cart: Rolling carts make great dorm room storage additions because you can use them to keep just about anything out of the way and off the floor, but you can easily scoot them out of the way to access other areas anytime you need to. Hardware stores carry wheels you can attach to furniture items, so you can even DIY your own rolling carts with baskets or shelves.

6. Use Magnets: Magnets are an inexpensive, accessible storage solution. You can attach magnets to just about anything and then store the magnetized items on metallic surfaces. You can use this trick for spices, hygiene supplies, towel hooks, and most lightweight items. If you have a large enough metallic surface, you can even attach magnets to a basket and make use of the storage potential of the exterior of a dorm refrigerator.

7. Pegboards: While pegboards may not be the most attractive items, they are an excellent space-saving solution and can be more chic than you might think. Pegboard hooks can be rearranged to allow space for even oddly shaped or sized items. A pegboard can be rearranged at will to meet your current storage needs, whether you changed to new products or the seasons changed. Pegboards are often lightweight enough to be mounted with sticky strips or magnets, so they can be used for storage in open wall space.

8. Eliminate Excess: You can open up dorm space by doing something as simple as getting rid of items you don’t use or need. Have you moved from your summer wardrobe to your winter wardrobe? See if you can store your warm weather clothes with a family member or friend. Maybe it’s a new semester and you don’t need all your textbooks anymore. Look into textbook buyback programs, selling your textbooks online, or offer them to a friend or underclassman who is entering the course you just completed. Anything you can do to clean up items that do nothing but take up space will help you make your dorm more comfortable.

Conclusion

DIY projects are a great way to make your dorm room your own creation and to unwind after long hours of schoolwork. DIY dorm room storage won’t just add to your aesthetic, either. Increasing storage in your dorm room will improve your mood, decrease your frustration and anxiety, and help you have more pleasant interactions with people, especially your roommate. 

Dorm living and college are both stressful enough on their own. A dirty, cluttered, chaotic environment will only increase your stress levels. Imagine how much more relaxed you’ll feel by having an open workspace for studying or enough open floor space to practice yoga or meditation. And of course, don’t forget to protect all of your stuff from the unexpected with renters insurance!

Student Life

The Best Streaming Device Options for College Students

January 8, 2021

Studying can be grueling. One sure-fire way to escape your frazzled brain is a few good hours of binge-watching your favorite series.

Many students make do using their laptop, tablet or even just their phone for watching TV. But, without breaking the bank, it’s possible to make this all-important down-time a little more comfortable.

To upgrade your setup in a worthwhile way, there are a few things to consider.

We’ve compiled a list of recommended streaming devices based on price, quality and usability features. 

Apple 4K

With a starting price of $179, the new Apple TV 4K might be a little unnecessarily pricey for your budget, unless the added features make it worth your while. Yes, you can get Airplay or Apple TV+ on other hardware, but this latest updated software allows for linking up to your PlayStation and Xbox controllers for an all-in-one entertainment device.

Between the Apple Arcade game streaming service and the vast extent of cloud gaming options, if you’re an Apple fan, this may be the most solid system choice moving forward. Certainly, when it comes to the number of titles available through one device, it’s unparalleled. In addition, for cable-powered apps it features a zero sign-on setup.

If you’re not an Apple lover, check out the best value-for-money Android TV boxes

NVIDIA Shield TV 4K

Before we get much more budget-friendly, let’s talk about the NVIDIA Shield TV 4K HDR streaming media player. This device will set you back around $200 and yes, its fantastic quality – but for such a hefty price tag you have to ask yourself, do you really need it? Unless you are a hardcore gamer and/or have a 4K TV, probably not. That said, it is arguably the best in its class – fast, voice-control enabled and with superior Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos surround sound. If quality is your thing and you can afford it, you won’t regret it.

Amazon 4K Fire TV Stick

This little Amazon Fire TV stick was certainly designed with ease of use in mind. With a recommended retail price of $62.97, this remote bundle comes with a new wi-fi antenna for optimized 4K Ultra HD streaming. That, added to its Alexa voice command capabilities, makes for a superior streaming experience.

Roku Streaming Stick

If you’re not much of a gamer and you really need a bargain, then this super affordable streaming option might be your best bet. The Roku Streaming Stick currently comes in at just $29.40 and is easily portable to boot. With supported internet services that include Netflix, HBO, Prime Video, Hulu with Live TV, Apple TV, Showtime, The Roku Channel, and Google Play, it’s a great all-rounder as well as Alexa voice-control friendly.

Micca Speck G2 1080 Portable Digital Media Player

The Micca Speck G2 is an affordable choice that has a portable-friendly design and is powerful enough to stream whatever you’re into. Supporting a wide range of connections and files, this device comes with a car power adapter and although not voice control enabled, has a full function remote control. For anyone worried about cost, at just $37.99 this little streamer might be all you need. 

Matricom G-Box Q (v3) Android Media Mini PC

With an Android OS, the Matricom G-Box Q² is well worth a mention. With a sleek, portable design, this fast-processing device is the closest thing to a PC that’s all play. Unlike many streaming devices, this is a full android computer designed for your living room, that is free from any restrictions. You can install and customize all your favorite apps and it also supports Amazon Prime video access. Priced at $77, it’s a lot for your money.

Final thoughts

These are just some of the streaming device options available and it’s well worth doing your homework before making your purchase. Not only do the prices differ considerably, but both the quality and applications for use do too, and it will pay off if you research the options based on your personal preferences. Happy streaming!

Student Life

How to Make Dorm Life More Comfortable

October 30, 2020

When you had a tough day in elementary school, you could come home and talk to Mom or Dad while they made dinner in the kitchen. When you had a rough time in middle school, you could spend the evening sprawled in front of the television, unwinding in safe security. When you had a challenging day in high school, you could retreat to the familiar serenity of your bedroom.

Now that you’re in college, though, everything is new. Your workload likely feels enormous. Your social life is constant. And when you feel overwhelmed? Well, you want to have a safe place where you can withdraw to recoup and recover, right?

Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you turn your dorm life into a sanctuary that’s as calming as your childhood home.

Don’t Neglect Nostalgia

First and foremost, if you want to quickly establish a sense of comfort in your dorm, it’s important that you purposefully bring some of your home along with you.

You can do this by packing things like:

  • Photos of your family.
  • Wall-hung art/pictures from home.
  • Your own bedding with the smell of home.
  • Mugs, silverware, and any other daily items that can remind you of home.

The more small reminders you can have of the home front, the easier it will be to introduce a sense of familiarity with your new living space.

Think About Physical Comfort

Before we get to the decorations and setup of your dorm, it’s important to address the physical comfort of your space. The three main items in question are:

  • Your bed: Do you have a good bed to sleep on? If not, can you bring a memory foam mattress, good bedding, or anything else to improve your sleep?
  • Your desk: Do you have a comfortable, spacious area where you can work on homework or study for hours at a time?
  • A chair: You don’t want to literally break your back while you’re working in your dorm. Make sure your chair is comfortable and has good lumbar support.

While all of these are important, you don’t need to break the bank for them. There are many ways that you can thrift and repurpose older furniture for your own use. You may even be able to bring some furniture from home.

The important thing is that you keep an eye out for quality items that will make your space more inviting.

Steer into a Warm, Cozy Feel

Once you have your basic furniture needs tended to, it’s time to start focusing on a comfortable feel to go along with them.

Start by identifying a few words that embody what you want your space to feel like. While each person’s taste is different, if you want a comfortable space, you’ll probably want to include words like cozy and warm in there somewhere.

When it comes to creating a cozy bedroom, you may not be able to do bigger projects, like paint the walls, but it’s still easy to tap into those fuzzy feelings with small details, like getting a headboard, setting up a few potted plants, or plastering a lamp.

Don’t Forget the Ambiance

Along with the decor, it’s also important to remember the ambiance of your room. Of particular interest are:

  • The smell: College dorms can be especially rank, and it’s important to fight that tendency. Try setting up a diffuser and some essential oils to claim a positive, predictable aroma for your space.
  • The sounds: Make sure you have a good way to regularly pump your dorm full of comforting sounds. A smart home device and Bluetooth earbuds are both excellent college student gifts, whether you request them from someone else or give them to yourself as a house warming present.
  • The lighting: Don’t surrender to those stark dorm lights. Bring a lamp, hang Christmas lights, and generally look for ways to get some mood lighting set up in your space.

Dorm, Sweet Dorm

From a comfortable workspace and bed to a cozy ambiance and a warm decor, there are plenty of ways to easily turn a stark dorm room into a comfortable paradise. Refer to the list above, brainstorm how you can apply these ideas to your own dorm, and then start cobbling together the most comfortable dorm on the campus

AUTHOR BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.