Browsing Tag

tips

Health Other

How to Fulfill Your Dog Fix On-Campus

July 30, 2019

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

Hang out in outside common areas or a local park

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

Keep an ear out for any therapy dog events on campus

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

Volunteer at a local dog shelter

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

Skype with your dog back home

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

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

Career Other

Gen Z is in the Building: What New Employees are Looking for in the Workplace

July 22, 2019

Born between 1996 and 2010, Gen Z is just starting the process of graduating and entering the workforce. While we’re well aware of what millennials value in the workplace, a whole new understanding of what Gen Z individuals want, and how they work, is imperative. Early research has shown that this generation appreciates a social, flexible yet professional work culture. If your company doesn’t plan to adjust its culture to prepare for these young professionals, you run the risk of losing out on their creative ideas and fresh insights. 

What can your company do to attract new Gen Z employees?

Implement Flexible Working Arrangements

Gen Z most craves the ability to work from anywhere and outside of traditional 9–5 hours. While they value hard work, friends, travel, and fitness are also very important to this group, so they often seek jobs that offer a healthy work-life balance. Gen Z feels that work shouldn’t get in the way of personal activities and don’t want to use their PTO for anything other than vacation, such as appointments.

To make it as easy as possible for your employees to find the work-life balance they want, consider adopting a remote or flexible work arrangement. This allows your workers to choose what hours they work and where they work them from. While this idea seems scary at first, remember that modified variations of this policy are possible. Also, modern technology allows your employees to get just as much work done from home as the office. As long as they have internet access, your workers can even communicate with customers by utilizing Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems. VoIP hosts phone signals through cloud servers, which means that your workers can connect with others through any device with internet access.

Provide Social Opportunities

Many young professionals rank having a social work environment as extremely important and specifically seek companies that provide it. These individuals, therefore, value office activities and social events that provide them with an opportunity to mingle with their coworkers. While this might seem like a way to invite distractions into your business, social environments actually encourage collaboration and communication, which can help your company work more efficiently.

Reports have shown that it’s important to Gen Z to bond with their coworkers. To help give them this social environment they so crave, provide an array of different events for coworkers to mingle. These events should include office-wide activities during work hours, mentoring programs, planning speaker series’ for young professionals, and hosting social and volunteer events. This way, employees with families or other obligations after-hours have many different opportunities to attend and be included.

Gen Z may already be in the building so to speak—especially when you’re looking to hire entry-level positions and/or interns—so the time to educate and prepare for them is now. Make the effort to learn what separates this incoming generation from their older counterparts and cater your company to be a place they want to be!

Check out more of our blogs about navigating the workforce and follow us on social media to stay up to date. GradGuard strives to make you feel protected throughout your college experience.

Health Other

4 Summer Activities to Help You Recharge

July 22, 2019

As a college student, you have undergone through stressful situations for the last several months dealing with assignments, term papers, thesis, and research papers. The increased academic work, coupled with continuous assessment tests has taken a toll on your body. An extended summer to refresh is just what is needed. If you are already wondering what to do, here are some exciting activities you can incorporate to destress. 

Cruise Vacations

Cruises are a great way to explore unique destinations while spending some time on the water. There are several cruise vacations to look into this summer, and you can choose the one that fits your tastes and preferences. Most of them move south from Florida heading to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands. Cruise vacations in Europe and Africa are an option as well. 

Volunteering

Volunteering is another option that allows you to refresh and see the world in another perspective. It is not all about spending hundreds of hours of accumulating knowledge. You need to get in touch with reality as well. You can volunteer in many ways, depending on your tastes and preferences and financial capacity as well. You may choose to spend some time with the seniors in the nearby senior facility and listen to their side of the stories. You can also choose to travel farther away from home and volunteer in environmental conservation strategies. 

Athletics

Physical fitness is a great summer activity. There are many opportunities to get involved with a sports team or another form of athletics. This allows you to exhaust yourself physically after a lengthy period of exhausting your mind and adding some pounds. Scientists indicate that there is a direct relationship between body fitness and critical thinking so you can be sure that you will return to college sharp and ready to solve those equations. 

African Game Drive

For hundreds of years, Africa has been the ultimate game drive destination for any person from the United States or Europe. Africa has bumpy roads and remote countryside where you can meet several native communities that have preserved their culture and traditions. A game drive in East Africa allows you to enjoy the Rift-Valley, lakes, some of the tallest mountains, and the big five animals in the world. Africa has direct sun throughout the year and unexploited coastal beaches along the Indian Ocean coastline. 

Cruise vacations, East African game drive, athletics, and volunteering are examples of great summer activities you can choose to refresh your mind after several months of college work. These activities from GradGuard are guaranteed to give you a memorable experience. However, it is essential to choose what works for you, depending on your tastes and preferences.

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.

Other Student Life

Pros and Cons of Having a Car on Campus

June 25, 2019

When you arrive on campus there are many difficult decisions to make. One decision that many students grapple with is whether or not to bring their car to school. There are many factors to consider such as the distance of your school from your home, the climate where your school is located, and the price of gas. Here are some pros and cons to consider before bringing your car to campus.  

Pros

Freedom to travel where you need to go

Having a car will make it easier to go off campus and travel. You won’t have to rely on public transportation or have to ask other people to get around. It can be helpful to be able to drive to the grocery store or have the ability to go on a short trip.

Cut down on flight costs

If you have a car on campus you will not have to purchase plane tickets when you want to go back home. This, of course, depends on whether or not you are going to a school that is close to where you live. A car will allow you to travel home without paying a hefty flight price.

Ability to transport your possessions

It can be difficult to move in and out of your residence when in college and having a car may assist with this process. The ability to drive to college with your possessions is very valuable. You can cut down on the cost of a storage unit and won’t have to worry too much about shipping your items.

Cons

You might get taken advantage of

If you are the person in your friend group who has a car, some people may start treating you like their personal taxi service. If you create boundaries you may avoid this issue but there is always the risk of others using you for your car.

You need to pay for parking and gas

A burden of having a car on campus is that you typically have to pay a hefty fee just to park it. This varies among different schools but this added expense can be bigger than expected. Another thing to consider is the price of gas. This may be a high cost depending on your location.

Weather conditions

If you are going to school somewhere with harsh winters, it may not be the best conditions for having a car. The snow can be an issue for college students who have cars on campus, especially if the student is not used to living in that type of climate.

The decision of whether or not to bring your car to campus is contingent on the different factors presented. It’s a choice that some students are happy with and other’s regret. No matter your decision, it is important to be prepared and to be aware of all the conditions.

GradGuard is a great resource for students who want to be prepared for any surprises that life may present them with. Follow GradGuard on social media to stay up to date on valuable advice and tips for your first year of college.

Career Other

6 Tips For Nailing a Skype Interview

May 21, 2019

Job interviews are nerve-wracking enough, but having to sit in front of your webcam can make them even scarier.

Job interviewers are increasingly relying on Skype interviews as an intermediary step between a phone interview and an in-person interview. If your college semesters are coming to an end and you’re prepping for a video interview, these tips will help you make the perfect impression.

1. Perform Some Background Research

Preparing for a Skype interview should be no different than preparing for any interview. You can easily stand out from other applicants by learning as much as you can about the organization you’re applying to. Research the position through the organization’s website or through tools like Career Search, Vault.com, or Glassdoor.

2. Curate Your Space

Pick a clean, well-lit space with simple furniture or decorations, and angle your camera parallel to the wall behind you. If you live with roommates or pets, make arrangements before your interview to keep them out of the background.

3. Dress to Impress

First impressions matter—and this might be the truest in an interview. Dress professionally from head to toe. By dressing up for your interview, you’ll also be mentally preparing yourself to present your most professional side. Caring about the details will stand out and help you feel more confident.

4. Prepare Your Equipment

At least an hour before your interview, take some time to set up your computer so you’re ready to go before the interviewer calls. Test your internet speed to make sure your video call won’t drop or have to buffer. And ask a friend or family member to help you test your sound and video before the day of your interview.

You can also place the Skype chat window directly below your computer’s webcam so that it’s easier to look into the camera while still seeing your interviewer’s face. This will help the conversation feel natural on both sides.

5. Use Confident Body Language

Body language can make or break a remote interview. Avoid looking stiff by sitting up straight while relaxing your shoulders. Leaning in slightly when your interviewer is speaking shows your interest and engagement. And finally, focus on keeping your arms relaxed at your sides.

6. Send a Follow-Up Email

Once your interview is over, it’s important to follow up. A good follow-up email is polite, direct, and brief enough to leave another positive impression. Confirm that you’re ready to take the job by gently requesting an offer, or simply state outright that you hope to be hired for the position. Finally, make sure to include any follow-up materials promised during the interview.

Skype interviews may not be your favorite activity, but they’re quickly becoming a fact of life, especially if your degree means you’re applying for jobs across the country. Make the best of the opportunity by leveraging these tips from GradGuard, and you’ll soon be a video conferencing expert.

BIO: Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in online business marketing and consumer technology. She has a background in broadcast journalism.

Health Other

Five Ways to Reduce Exam Stress

April 23, 2019

When it comes to exams, everyone deals with the apprehension we feel in different ways. There are people who just breeze through exams and studying with seemingly little effort. But for the majority of us, when an exam approaches, stress levels can run high.

If left unmanaged, the stress of studying and preparation can leave us drained and burnt out, leaving little energy for the exam itself. So it’s useful beforehand to start preparing to prepare. Preparing isn’t only about cramming knowledge in before the big day, but ensuring that mentally we are in the right place when we sit down to write our paper or take the exam. Here are five handy tips to ensure that you make the best of your preparation time.

Write It All Out

When it comes to stress, we can tend to have a habit of letting our internal dialogue dictate our mood. We catch ourselves sitting in front of our books or computers, staring vacantly into space, and before we know it an hour has gone by and we’ve achieved nothing, driving us further into stress. Sometimes we see this as a character flaw which is holding us back, that we’re easily distracted or spend too much time ‘daydreaming’.

But these moments of reflection are our way of attempting to solve a seemingly insurmountable problem. If you find yourself slipping into the cycle of internal questioning, it’s a good idea to get a pen and write it all down. In the act of writing it down, we are both affirming our worries and issues and addressing them. In the act of writing, we have put our worries at a distance, so that we can analyze them and group them into tangible subjects that can be addressed.

Schedule Your Time

Having written down what issues you might be facing, it’s important to get into the habit of organizing them into time-specific tasks. To-do lists and prioritization tasks are central to time-management skills, and once used effectively can come in very useful in our careers. But it also helps us to visualize our end goals in a more realistic way.

Planning out each task and the time you give it can be time-consuming in itself. Although you should attempt to stay on schedule, you should also understand that some flexibility isn’t a bad thing, and you need to make time for self-care and relaxation.

Take Regular Breaks

Part of self-care is to take regular breaks, so make sure you put some time for breaks in your schedule. Burnout from stress is detrimental to your health and wellness. Spending time reading or in front of a computer for long periods can cause undue strain on your eyes, leading to headaches. It’s also unhealthy to stay inside for too long. Studies have shown that taking regular breaks outside can lower stress levels, even if these breaks are as short as five minutes.

“Taking regular breaks means that you can return to your revision with a clear head, seeing your tasks with fresh eyes,” says Sue McCluskey, author at LetsGoAndLearn and Viawriting, “Seeing the task ahead in a new light helps mitigate the stress it may cause.”

Eat Well

Hunger can be distracting. When we crave food, our cortisol levels go up and we get stressed. If we wait too long, we end up carb loading or binging on sweets. A good way of combatting this scenario is to keep ourselves well stocked with healthy, stress-busting snacks and drinks.

Eating too much sugar or caffeine will actually increase your stress levels, so before you go and buy that energy drink, try opting for green or black tea instead. Ditch the gummy sweets and instead opt for some pistachios or blueberries – equally as snackable but better for you in terms of stress and brain power.

Sleep Well

At one time or another, we all end up ‘burning the midnight oil’. We believe that in order to maximize efficiency we have to extend our day into the early hours of the morning. “Sleep is crucial to performance,” says Robert P Russell, contributor to Studydemic and Academized, “Reducing how long we sleep affects our productivity as well as our health.”

Studies have shown that lacking sleep is a sure way to increase your stress levels, and in turn, stress can affect your sleeping patterns. Getting stuck in this cycle is a sure way to ruin your exam preparations and will affect your performance during the exam itself; but don’t worry! With these tips from GradGuard, your exam season should be a little easier.

BIO: Chloe Bennet writes for Revieweal and State Of Writing on a range of subjects such as education and finance. As an expert on administrative support management, she enjoys writing for Essayroo.

Other Student Life

Important Things to Know About Your Student Loans

April 10, 2019

With total student loan debt in the United States now over $1.5 trillion, students have to be prepared to pay off those student loans when they graduate. Knowing your available repayment, forgiveness and tax options will not only help you manage your student loans effectively—it may also save you money.

Many students fail to look into their repayment and forgiveness options, which can hurt their ability to pay off their loans on time. On top of this, some students don’t realize how private student loans differ from federal aid. To help you understand your student loans, here are some of the most important things to know.

Interest accrues while you’re in school.

When you take out an unsubsidized federal student loan or a private student loan, interest will start accruing as soon as the loan is disbursed. This means that although you can usually defer repayment until after you leave or graduate from school, the interest you owe on the loan will start to build up while you’re in school and will continue accruing throughout repayment. When you graduate, you will be responsible for paying off the interest accrued and your total loan amount.

There are multiple federal student loan repayment options.

Federal student loans have several repayment options. Upon graduation, you’ll be automatically enrolled in a 10-year standard repayment plan unless you opt for an income-driven repayment plan. With one of these plans, your monthly payments will be based on a percentage of your income, and your loan balance will be forgiven after 20 to 25 years of repayment.

Private loan repayment options are limited compared to federal student loan repayment.

Private student loan repayment options are a bit different from federal aid options. Generally, private lenders don’t base your monthly payments on your income. Instead, you will choose a loan term, usually between five and 20 years, with a monthly payment based on paying off your balance and interest by the end of your term. There are no forgiveness options for private student loans.

You may qualify for tax deductions or tax credits.

You may be able to claim certain education tax credits or deductions if you’re in school or paying off a student loan. If you are still in school, you may qualify for the American opportunity tax credit and lifelong learning credit. And if you’re repaying your student loan debt, you should look into the student loan interest deduction and the earned income tax credit. Tax credits and deductions typically have income and filing status requirements, but if you qualify, you stand to save hundreds or thousands of dollars on your taxes.

As graduation gets closer and those loans start to creep up on you a little faster, remember these financial tips from GradGuard to help you out!

Career Other

5 Networking Tips for Recent College Grads

March 26, 2019

Networking can be unnerving for recent college graduates and new professionals, but it’s essential in landing a new job and career growth in the future.

It’s estimated that at least 70 percent of available jobs are never listed online. Attending industry events, conferences, and other networking opportunities is a great way to get your name out there and discover jobs that aren’t posted on online job boards.

With that in mind, here are five tips for recent college grads to network like pros in any networking situation.

Carry Yourself Confidently

Having confidence is easier said than done, especially in an unfamiliar situation. The best advice to appear confident when you aren’t is to “fake it till you make it”. You can give the appearance of confidence by being conscious of your body language. Studies have shown that those who stand in “power poses” command more attention, suffer less stress, and benefit from improved performance. Make sure to stand with good posture, keep a smile on your face, and nail down the perfect handshake in order to impress a prospective connection.

Appearance Matters

Many people subconsciously correlate appearance with competence in other areas.  This makes it essential to have a well-rounded professional image. How you appear and what you wear can embolden you to feel more confident and improve the way you interface with others.

Paying attention to little grooming details prior to a networking event can give you an added polish and confidence boost. You can utilize a variety of effective beauty solutions to manage hair loss, smooth out your complexion, and whiten your smile. For sustainable improvements in your appearance, make sure to practice regular self-care by exercising regularly, sticking to a sleep schedule, and keeping a balanced diet.

When considering an outfit, you should always match the dress code of the event you’re attending. However, if the dress code is unclear, you should dress to fit the role of the position you’re aiming for. Looking the part doesn’t just impress your potential connections, it enables you to act the part as well.

Actively Engage

Everyone likes to talk about themselves. After introducing yourself, actively engage with your new connection and ask them about their experiences within the industry. Stay present in the conversation without checking your phone, speaking over them, or scoping out the event for who you want to talk to next. Demonstrating your interest in the work they’re doing makes them feel important while showing them your passion for the industry.

Look For Mutual Interests

Finding common ground and mutual interests can solidify a memorable conversation. You don’t want to go off topic without reason, as it can make you seem like you’re not serious about your industry. However, if a conversation is going well, don’t be afraid to test the waters around more personal topics, such as a favorite sports team, television show, or recent movie.

Exchange Contact Information

After a good conversation, you should always remember to get your new connection’s contact information to follow up after the event. This way, you can continue to build on your new professional relationship. Offer your own contact information and/or business card as well.

These tips are sure to get you noticed and remembered at your next networking event! Don’t forget to follow GradGuard on social media if you enjoy posts like this one.

Other Safety

Online Dating in College

February 26, 2019

So here’s the thing. Dating in college is fun and all, but it can also be an absolute pain. You’re usually on a completely different page than the person you’re interested in, and sometimes a totally different book. Let’s face it, that person you met at the frat party last week is probably not texting you back any time soon, so let’s try something else. Online dating? It’s actually a really common thing now and makes things a lot easier; you can see what the other person is interested in via their profile, and what they are looking for. Simple right? Wrong. Here are some tips you can follow to remain safe and get the most out of online dating in college.

Do Your Research

You know what I mean. Put those FBI Facebook creeping skills to use and find the person you’re talking to on social media. Be sure that everything checks out. Make sure that they have friends, a solid following on Instagram, and add them on Snapchat. Snapchat is going to be your go-to window for seeing if the person you met through your dating app of choice is who they say they are. Talk to them on the phone too. Someone’s voice says a lot about them, so it’s always a good idea to sneak in a few phone calls before meeting. If these things don’t line up, then move on to the next one. Date smart and don’t set yourself up for a Catfish situation.

Meet Up in a Public Place

You really can’t be too careful when meeting up with someone that you met on the internet. Once you’ve been chatting with them for a while, done the Snapchatting, meet up with them at the campus coffee shop, ask them to grab lunch in a dining hall, or make a study date in the library. Don’t ask them to come over to your dorm room or apartment or go to theirs where no one else is at. Publicity is key!

Keep Your Friends Informed

If you’re making the step to meet up with someone that you met online, just keep at least 1 of your friends in the loop. Let them know that you are meeting up with a new person and tell them where you will be. It also isn’t a bad idea if you decide to have them on standby if you need an out. Give them a code word that you can text them if you are not having a good time, getting a bad vibe, etc. That way your friend can give you a call with an excuse for you to leave. Remember, you don’t need a solid reason to leave if you are uncomfortable.

Date Around, But Also Be Selective

The great thing about “dating” is that you are not really committed to one person. Don’t worry, they probably aren’t committed to you right away either. Really just take some time to play the field, but play it well. You’ll likely have a lot of options, but be sure that you are selective with your suitors. Don’t feel pressured to meet up with someone just because you’ve been talking to them. If you aren’t ready to or don’t want to, then don’t. Just don’t be mean and ghost someone. Be honest about how you feel and offer an alternative if you are feeling up to it. At the same time, be sure you put yourself out there enough for the new experiences. It can be a little daunting at first, but it gets easier as time goes on.

Have Fun!

You’re young and this is your chance to have the time of your life! Meet new people, even if it isn’t for the sake of dating them, plenty of friendships develop from online dating apps as well. Sometimes you meet someone who you don’t click with romantically, but still have fun with. So instead of going on dates, you just get together to drink coffee and play League of Legends. Like I said, strive for the new experiences and the fresh faces! If you meet someone you want to keep around for a while, that is an added bonus.

Online dating is fun while you are in college, just be sure that you do it wisely with these tips from GradGuard as you go forth with your suitors. Do your research, be open minded, keep your friends informed, and meet everyone in a public place first. Stay safe and have a good time!

Other Student Life

6 Key Rules for Learning a Foreign Language

February 19, 2019

Learning a foreign language is no picnic, but nor is it impossible. You will have to work hard, but the result will be worth it. Just like everything, learning another language has its rules that make the process easier. You just need to remember that it’s going to take time and you can’t just dive right in. Learning a language does not have to be hard and frustrating all the time, so here are some major rules to help guide you.

  • Learn Pronunciation

Wrong pronunciation can change a word’s meaning, and that is why you need to learn it. A fantastic way to learn pronunciation is to listen to songs or talk shows in the target language. No one can teach you how to pronounce a word better than the native speakers themselves. If you are learning Spanish, try listening to how different words sound in Spanish.

  • Create Achievable Goals

Some people start learning a language and create goals that are too hard to achieve. For instance, setting a goal to learn a language in three months is unrealistic. A goal like this is too vague, and you cannot concentrate on what you have to do. If you set up a goal to become an intermediate learner in a certain time period, then that will help to keep you motivated. Instead of aiming to be fluent in a language, just try being able to strike up a conversation with someone instead. Fluency comes automatically!

  • Read For Pleasure

Reading is very beneficial generally as it broadens the mind and introduces you to rich vocabulary. Find literature written in the target language, and try reading it. You’ll probably have trouble at first, but you will slowly get used to it. Highlight the words that you don’t understand and then check their meanings. If you want, you can write the meanings in small footnotes on the pages so the next time you read it, you know instantly what the words mean and slowly you will begin to remember them.

  • Take It Easy

When you start to learn a language in the most difficult way possible, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Taking the easy way is going to be your best bet and will help you learn certain habits. If you are learning grammar, try to find a simple way to achieve your goal, and you’ll be able to learn the language much quicker.

  • Learn Cognates

Have you ever heard a word in a foreign language and think you know what it means because it sounds like something similar to a word in your native language? These words are known as cognates that originated in one language, and another language borrowed it or the word had roots in another language. These words are what enable us to understand particular phrases and words when we hear them even if we do not know the language. Learning them will give you a nice start to knowing some words from the target language without needing to memorize anything.

  • Practice

Whether you’re a basketball star or giving a speech for the first time, you have to practice. The same goes for learning a new language. You cannot sit in a room learning the vocabulary and grammar expecting to become an expert miraculously. You need to put yourself out there and start having a conversation in the target language in order to become good at it. This will give you enough confidence to communicate with the native speakers of the language, and you’ll learn a lot in the process.

Follow these key rules and language learning will become a whole lot easier for you! Don’t forget that GradGuard is here to help you with all your college tips and hacks!

Bio:Lara Smith has worked for Wall Street English for 20 years. After studying at Stanford University and subsequently doing a CELTA course, she began her career in teaching. She is obsessed with languages and currently writes blogs at https://www.mimicmethod.com/.