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Health Other

Freelance vs. Office: Which is Better for Your Mental Health?

November 5, 2018

Freelancing is a diverse, exciting world. But what impact does it have on psychological well-being, and is it a better option for those with mental health problems? If you are trying to weight it up – here are a few factors to consider:

Benefitting from flexible working hours:

One of the major perks of freelancing is that you can set your own hours. This allows you to attend doctors’ appointments and take a mental health day from work if needed.

It also allows you to work fewer hours until you feel better.

On the other hand, it requires discipline. It can be hard to summon the motivation to sit down and get on with a task. This is a way that an office job can help you stay productive, which in turn will boost your self-efficacy and self-esteem.

Having finances to cope with job insecurity:

You can’t deny the fact that a freelancers’ income is irregular. Clients can hire and fire you at will, while a traditional office job offers greater job security, which is better for your mental health.  If your financial situation is shaky, the stress that comes with finding enough work each month can be considerable.

The need for communication:

Social interaction is important to maintain a good mental state. On the other hand, many people find office environments to be quite stressful places.

If you choose to work for yourself, be sure to cultivate and keep a social life. You could also rent shared workspaces with other freelancers and join business networks to exchange support and ideas.

Being comfortable with marketing and networking:

It’s common for freelancers to work online, but you will still need to market yourself via social media, and have some difficult conversations about pricing, projects, and deadlines.

Ask yourself whether you have these skills. If this makes you feel stressed out and it isn’t a barrier you want to overcome, freelancing may not be the best option for you.

Benefitting from employee assistance program (EAP):

As a freelancer, you’d likely need to pay for your own health insurance, but if you can find a traditional job with good benefits this may be a better option for you. So if you have a choice, consider choosing a company based on the support they offer employees.

Drawing boundaries and “switching off” outside of working hours:

Worrying about projects can lead to heightened levels of stress, which may worsen mental health conditions. Office time is more structured and it can be easier to leave your work at the door when you leave. This should definitely be a consideration when you are deciding between freelance and office.

So, is it better to be a freelancer or office worker?

“The right answer for you will depend on your personality, circumstances, and mental health status” –   mentions Mary, a freelance translator of The Word Point. If you still aren’t sure, be open-minded and try a few different arrangements.

Be prepared to experiment to find what works for you. Whatever you do, always put your mental health first and seek support if you start to feel overwhelmed. 

Remember that GradGuard is here to help you with all of your college hacks and insurance needs!

Other Student Life

Halloween Tricks and Treats

October 30, 2018

As Halloween approaches (arguably the best time of the year) there are always fun crafts and treats that can be done! Here are a few suggestions from the GradGuard team to have a fun and safe Halloween!

Ghosts in the Graveyard

Always a fun no-bake dessert! Get yourself some vanilla pudding, Oreo cookies (look for the tombstone Halloween ones!), gummy worms, and some Ghost Peeps and you are set to make this fun Halloween treat for your whole floor! Just start by following the instructions on the instant pudding and put it in a glass/metal pan to chill in the fridge. Then crush up some Oreos and cover the top of the top of the pudding with the crumbs to create a “dirt” effect. Once that is completed, just add the ghost Peeps, gummy worms, and Tombstone Oreo cookies to make your own creepy, delicious design. Definitely a Halloween favorite!

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

Everyone knows this one! Sometimes the best part of having to carve a pumpkin is getting those yummy seeds! Once you finish gutting your pumpkin, be sure to clean the seeds and place them on a cookie sheet covered with foil. Once they’ve had a chance to dry (3-4 hours) you’re welcome to add a few spices and pop them in the oven for about 45 minutes at 300 degrees! This is a great, healthy snack for all diets and eating lifestyles! Not to mention they are perfect for the fall weather.

Making Gingerbread “Haunted” Houses

This could be a good one for those that are already in the Holiday spirit but aren’t ready to bust out the Christmas lights yet. Start with your favorite Gingerbread mix/premade cookie squares that you can find at the store, then load up on all of the funky fixings that you can find (gummy worms, gummy hands, candy eyeballs, candy spiders/bones, etc.) and go to town! Build your structure then add all of the fun additions that you picked out. You can use your favorite frosting as “glue” to add on the treats and keep everything together. This is a fun tradition you can start with your family or friends!

Witchy Apple Heads

Witchy apple heads are a cute craft that is simple, yet a little more time-consuming. Start with shaving an apple of the skin, then carve your own funky face into it. It can be scary, silly, or simple and then insert a popsicle stick in the bottom of it and leave it on a paper plate to dry. Give it a few days to wilt and become really wrinkly before adding your own artsy flare to it! Once the apple is dried, you can give it a witch hat, some yarn hair, a cloak, and maybe a little witches broom. This is not one to be eaten, but a cute little centerpiece for your coffee table.

As the witching hour approaches, put on a scary movie or podcast and gather your friends to create something cute this Halloween season! Remember, GradGuard is spooky this week! Be sure to check us out for fun Halloween posts!

Other Student Life

Perfect Podcasts for Halloween

October 29, 2018

The weather is cooling down so the time is coming for that thrilling, chilling night. For those of you that enjoy a little terror, we have a few podcasts that you absolutely MUST listen to this Halloween season.

The No Sleep Podcast

This one is a necessity. A horror fiction podcast that developed from Reddit’s No Sleep Forum, the No Sleep Podcast has been going on for many years and has quite a few seasons! They release new episodes every Sunday and even have some special bonus episodes that are released during the week for those that are season pass members. Scary stories, great voice actors, and specific Halloween themed episodes? This one is perfect for you as long as you’re not faint of heart. “As the sleepless hours of the night tick past” bundle up with a blanket and maybe a few friends as you turn down the lights and listen.

Darkest Night

If you enjoyed No Sleep, then you should check out Darkest Night. This is an audio program produced by Shudder. This one is best listened to with headphones so you get the scariest effect. The sound production of this podcast is phenomenal and it truly makes you feel like you are right there with the characters. Darkest Night follows the experiments of the Roth-Lodbow Center for Advanced research and their present project known as Project Cyclops. There are a few seasons of this podcast and they have just started season 3! Once again scary and mystifying, this one is binge-worthy.

Lore

Lore is a great podcast for those who are interested in weird things but aren’t necessarily ready for Darkest Night or No Sleep. Lore brings all of your favorite mysteries to life! It educates you about legends, ghost stories, and is even a series on Amazon Prime! For all of you weirdos out there who want to learn more about the Lore of different religions, cultures, and locations, this is one of the best out there.

Lake Clarity

Lake Clarity is a perfect middle ground between Lore and Darkest Night. It is for those who want something suspenseful and scary, but maybe still want to be able to sleep at night. Season one follows a group of young adults who are visiting a campsite to do some exploring and naturally, everything starts to get strange. With short episodes and a compelling storyline, this one is a great alternative to a scary movie.

 

With these podcasts in mind, why not light some candles, cozy up with some hot cider, and let yourself get a little spooked this season. As October comes to an end, just remember to be safe while having some fun! Check out GradGuard on social media this week for more Halloween posts!

Other Student Life

3 Tech Trends For College Students

October 23, 2018

Since college students are actively studying competing for a place in the job market, it’s no surprise new tech trends often appear among them first. The latest in digital communication and security hardware can help you improve the way you access information, experience new ways of learning, and even protect your dorm and belongings. If you’re looking for upcoming technology in education, these trends are on the bleeding edge.

E-texts

The rising cost of textbooks (or the inconvenience of heavy backpacks) is driving up the use of e-books at almost every university. A four-year study conducted by Aimee deNoyelles and John Raible at the University of Central Florida found e-text use was up to 66% of students in 2016, growing year over year. As students get more familiar with digital technology, e-books are becoming a preference.

Many institutions are jumping on the bandwagon. Florida recently launched a $656,000 program to drive up the use of e-texts in state universities. The University of Indiana reports that e-texts saved its students $3.5 million in the 2016–2017 academic year, making information access more affordable and more convenient.

Video Learning and Virtual Reality (VR)

Video has been in classrooms for decades, but developing technologies in video communications are opening new doors for students in 2018. Video education tools like Google Expeditions already provide advanced VR-powered learning tools for teachers across the globe, offering digital tours of far-off historical sites and ecological hotspots. VR in college classrooms provides new ways for students to learn and experience the material.

Video also continues to enable distance learning. Video lectures allow professors to teach in a more engaging way to students taking online courses, which has increased the effectiveness of these types of courses. With distance learning, a college education is more accessible and affordable, especially to people in countries that lack wide offerings of higher education.

Dorm Room Security

Students in universities have already adopted AI techs like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. Now, the latest in home security is making the jump to college dorms. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 27,500 criminal incidents at universities in 2015, an increase from 2014. The risk of losses to personal property is enough to push many students to install security cameras in their dorms.

New smart security cameras offer advanced features like smartphone compatibility and cloud storage that allow you to stream the feed to your phone when you’re not in your dorm room. Voice controls and IFTT compatibility let them link up with other smart devices as well. Remember to do your research and find the system that works best for you.

The Next Big Trend

A lot of our modern digital world traces back to university laboratories and messy dorm rooms. The next big trend in the tech world at large might start somewhere on your college campus this week. But for now, these technological tools are shaping the college experience—at least until next semester. Who knows what innovations might be waiting right around the corner.

Remember to check out GradGuard on social media for all of your college tips and hacks.

Career Other

Stepping into the Professional World on the Right Foot

October 22, 2018

Planning for the future can be confusing at times, but who says it has to be a struggle? From standing out at your internship to planning your post-grad plans, there are plenty of easy changes you can make to look and feel your best in order to succeed. Having the confidence to thrive in the professional world will position you to excel in whatever you do. Here’s what you should be doing to ensure you start off on the right foot:

Update Your Resume Frequently

It never hurts to get a second, or even a third, opinion on your resume. Rather than talking about your day-to-day duties on your resume, it’s best to demonstrate the skill set and benefit that you personally brought to a company/organization, and to have your desired company in mind while doing so. This can and should be, a process that it is completed regularly before applying to any job. Also as you engage in volunteer events, clubs, internships, and other extracurricular activities.

Utilizing the knowledge of classmates, professors, and your career center can help you to compile the best of what you have to offer, and showcase what is most important. Accepting constructive criticism, updating your vocabulary, and finding new ways to create a quality, eye-catching resume will put you ahead of the game.

Don’t be afraid to get creative when structuring your resume, as some employers like to see out-of-the-box interpretations, but use your best judgment. If you’re applying for a position at a young, creative company, for example, consider tailoring your resume to fit the company’s mission, values, and overall aesthetic. As you would tailor a cover letter to fit the job you are applying for, you should always do the same with your resume. Having a strong skill set on paper can help you emulate the confidence you need to score the job of your dreams.

Dress the Part

A big part of being the best version of yourself in the professional world is dressing the part. This doesn’t mean you have to dress business professional every day, but elevating your style to look more put-together, and especially well-dressed during important moments, is a great first step. For ladies, it’s easy to be stylish by pairing trendy loafers with dark wash jeans and a button-down top. Swap the jeans out for a pencil skirt and add a cute suit jacket for a more professional twist. Purchasing staple pieces that you can alternate from ultra-casual to business is a great way to elevate your look. For men, try renting a great suit for a big interview or networking event. In your everyday wear, get some stylish dress shoes to pair with dark jeans or khakis and a nice shirt or sweater.

Of course, you’ll still have days where wearing sweatpants in public is fine, but try to limit it to the weekends or for running quick errands. You never know who you’ll see on a grocery store run or in class, so it’s important to always be on your A-game and grow more comfortable dressing professionally.

Network

Networking is an important step to take when positioning yourself for success. No matter how far along you are in your collegiate career, it is never too early to take advantage of networking opportunities. When it comes to events, showing up in your best professional attire with a resume and business card in-hand can give you the confidence to interact with anyone. Work on your elevator speech, build an off-paper resume that you can speak to, and work on some speaking techniques to command the room and exude confidence.

The most important thing to remember about excelling at networking is maintaining the connections you make. Reach out to your connections on LinkedIn, offer to meet them for coffee when you’re in their area and don’t be afraid to ask for advice or insight when the opportunity presents itself. If you keep these connections into your career, it may turn into a mutually beneficial connection down the road.

 

Be sure to look to GradGuard for all of your Motivational Monday posts!

Health Other

4 Ways to Perform Your Own Smartphone Detox

October 16, 2018

As a young adult, your whole life probably revolves around your smartphone. But to avoid its adverse impact, you must consider going on a smartphone detox. Did you know that nearly 60% of teenagers look at their smartphones 110 times a day? For some, the number could even go as high as 900 times. 

We live in a time where there’s an app to solve even the smallest issues and it can be hard to stay away from smartphones. However, smartphone dependence could turn out to be a cause of concern for your overall health. That’s why you should consider a detox process so that you can get over this dependence.

Don’t set unattainable targets

In order to cut down on your smartphone dependence, it would be best for you to start by setting smaller goals for each day. Whether it’s during studying, having dinner with your family, or when you’re performing a chore, if you gradually remove technology from your daily life (like, not checking social media or using instant messaging apps or making/receiving video calls), your detox will be all the more effective. These small but significant changes will help you achieve our target, but only when you set attainable objectives.

Delete your social media apps

The whole process of a smartphone detox would be incomplete without having these apps removed. Hence, get rid of these apps if you want to be free from the spell of checking your phone every 5 minutes. Now even though the process of detox is only for a limited span of time, and you might consider being back on the social network, but you would definitely notice a considerable reduction in your smartphone dependence.

Switch off cellular data completely when away from home, studying or at school

Switching off your cellular data not only helps your wallet but also gives your idle internet browsing a rest. However, it’s not too difficult to find places where there’s free Wi-Fi, thus taking away from your valuable downtime. Now, it all boils down to, having a little self-control. Exercising self-control will allow you to thwart any negative impact smartphones may have on your overall health.

Make sure turn the ‘airplane mode’ on before retiring for the night.

Now it’s a common excuse for teenagers (or for that matter adults) to keep their phones turned on through the night because they need to set the alarm for the next morning. But having a phone next to you compels you to check it repeatedly, and in the process, you disrupt your precious sleep and makes you prone to mindlessly scroll through the social media sites. That’s why the eminent therapists recommend that you should keep your phone on the airplane mode as it will starkly improve the quality of sleep and make you feel well-rested throughout the day.

When you religiously follow these tips, you will definitely notice the positive outcomes of your smartphone detox.

Remember to follow GradGuard on social media for all of your Tuesday Tips!

 

Author Bio: Marceline Joseph is an online educator, programmer and an academic writer associated with Assignment Help Company. Besides being associated with the education and teaching industry, Marceline is a passionate stamp collector and chess player.

Career Other

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering Grad School

October 15, 2018

When you graduate from college, you have options about how to make your next move. Some will try to jump into the workforce, some take time off, and others think about continuing their education by applying to graduate school. If you’re considering grad school, make sure to ask yourself these five questions first:

1. Am I sure of what I want to study?
Graduate school is obviously different than the undergraduate experience. You might have started out as a freshman with an undeclared major, and took your time deciding on what to major in. Grad school doesn’t really offer that luxury. You have to know what it is that you want to study and what degree you’d like to eventually obtain. This will make searching through grad programs easier. If you don’t have any specific goals in mind though, grad school might not be the best idea.

2. Will this advance my career prospects?
When you already know what it is you want to study in grad school, you need to ask yourself how it will affect your professional future. Grad school will take up a lot of your time and it can be pretty expensive. You might want to get an MFA in creative writing, but will that help you get a paying career before you can be a bestselling author? If you’re interested in something that won’t necessarily help your career prospects, consider putting off grad school until you have more stability and a steady income.

3. Can I afford it?
Most students graduate college with a huge pile of student loans. It’s important to think about how you’ll tackle those payments in addition to new bills for grad school. Try looking for scholarships and grants, and find out what schools and programs would be within your budget. Also consider the fact that some jobs will help pay for your graduate school classes! So if you’re ready to jump into the job market, find out what companies offer tuition reimbursement.

4. What schedule would be best?
Grad school accommodates for people’s busy schedules, so think about what time commitments would best suit your lifestyle. Full time, part time? Would you take night classes after work, or go during the day? Depending on what schedule you make for yourself, you can earn your degree in different amounts of time. Consider that too—do you want to devote three years to grad school, or do you want to set a sooner cutoff date and work from there?

5. Can I be fully committed?
Don’t forget that grad school is hard work. You’ll have to work more independently, and there will be higher expectations for you. You might get less guidance from professors than you did as an undergrad, and you’ll have to be self-motivated to stay on top of all your ongoing assignments. Make sure that you’ll be able to balance your grad school workload with any outside commitments you have.

If you’ve considered the above questions and are ready to start the graduate school search, excellent! Refer to this article to see what tests you’ll have to complete to be eligible.

Remember to look to GradGuard for all your college insurance needs!

Career Other

Discovering Efficient Strategies to Learn New Skills

October 9, 2018

As a student, it is important to be able to learn new skills. The ability to retain information is an important part of your education. You don’t need to be a genius to be at the top of your class. These strategies will help you retain and master new skills.

Learn by Doing

You will have better results when you actually try out the things you’ve learned. If you focus solely on retaining the information, you will likely forget that information after you’ve finished exams. Instead, if you put the information you are learning into practice and use other aspects of your knowledge to relate the information to, you are more likely to permanently retain that information and be able to use it in your future career.

Move From One Place to Another

A common mistake that most college students make while studying is staying in the same place all day. Your brain will make connections between what you study and the things that surround you. Therefore, if you spend hours on end in your room studying, your creativity will suffer. So, try studying in various places like the park, a coffee shop, the library, or places around campus. 

Test Yourself

An important part of studying is ensuring that you are retaining the information. While studying, quiz yourself at the end of each chapter to make sure you are understanding the material. Most textbooks will include a section at the end of the chapter to test your knowledge. You can also test yourself with flashcards alone or with a friend.

Take Notes

A good strategy to help retain information is to take notes. Summarizing the information into your own words and typing it or writing it down with help with memory recall when you need it. Another plus side to notetaking is you will have easy access to this information in you need it in the future.

Start Small

It’s normal to be ambitious and want to take on everything at one time. However, this can cause you to lose your concentration and become overwhelmed. In order to stay on track, it is better to focus on one or two strategies at a time, and split these into smaller, more achievable goals. Once you’ve met the first goals, you can move on to the next and progress down your list to success!

Self-improvement will help you to develop new skills that you will utilize long after you graduate. Of course, learning strategies will vary from one person to another. You can try the different methods above and see which ones will help you to master new skills and obtain better results in college and your future career.

Be sure to check out GradGuard‘s social media for new content every week!

 

Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. She does her voodoo regularly on the Pick Writers blog and occasionally contributes to other educational platforms. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors.

Career Other

How to Find Your Dream Job as a Student

October 8, 2018

The best time to start preparing yourself for your dream job is undoubtedly in college. During your studies, you should strive to gain new skills and knowledge that will help you achieve that goal.  

We’ll take a look below at a few of the different ways you can get your dream job as a college student.

Sign Up to Clubs and Societies

Clubs and societies are great ways to boost your career prospects and meet like-minded people. Not only will you learn about new skills and networking, but you’ll also be able to learn how to build these skills and use them in practical situations. It’s a great opportunity to be a part of something that interests you while gaining valuable industry experience. Some students may even leverage their society memberships or enrollments to be considered for their dream jobs.

Look into Starting an Internship

An internship, even in a junior position, can be a stepping stone to your dream job by getting your foot in the door of a certain industry or company. Take a little initiative and go on the search for an internship in a field you really love and are passionate about and you’re sure to learn a lot. You might even have the chance to be employed in that role by the end. This is by far the most seamless way you can get into the field you’ve always dreamed of working in.

Use All Tools Available to You

Job Searches

If you’re looking for your dream job, you should always utilize as many job searching tools as you can. Websites like Indeed and Jora are going to be key to finding suitable jobs for your skillset and gaining more experience in your field.

Tutoring

In college, good grades show employers that you’re serious about getting a degree in your field. One way to achieve great marks is to make sure you are always up to speed with your class content, which an online tutor can help you with.

Online Learning

Take advantage of all of your college’s online platforms. You might have access to external classes or streamed lectures that you can connect to if you’re unable to go to class on a certain day. These online platforms will keep you in the loop at all times and make sure you’re engaging with all the content.  

Match Future Employers to Your Moral Code

Working somewhere that reflects your own values is important. You need to feel a sense of pride and achievement for your company. If your employer goes against your morals or values, then this will reflect in your work.  

When applying or searching for your dream job, be sure to research the company and choose those whose moral codes align with your own.

Give Yourself a Chance to Grow

At the beginning of your career, you’ll need a job that allows you to grow and enhance your skills, not one that only uses the skills you already have. This way you have the chance to develop your skills and you’ll learn new skills that will ultimately open up more opportunities for you.  

Have Faith

Finally, it’s always good to remember that no one knows as much as they pretend they do. That friend or family member who looks like they have it all sorted may not really know what they’re doing. Simply have faith in yourself, get a hold of the skills you need and be confident and you’ll soon find an avenue into your dream job.

 

Be sure to check out GradGuard‘s social media for new content every week!

Other Transition

Things That Cost More Than Renters Insurance

October 4, 2018

Chances are you’re bringing quite a few things along to college with you this year. Some of those things, such as your bike, laptop, and X-Box are big-ticket, expensive items that you need to make it through the semester as a sane human being. So, what would happen if those items were stolen or damaged? You’d be out a lot of cash just trying to replace them.

On a college student budget, replacing a laptop could be disastrous. In addition to being diligent about your stuff, students should also consider protecting their stuff with GradGuard Renter’s Insurance!

Renters insurance provides valuable financial protection for your stuff and personal liability. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average annual cost of a renters insurance policy is $184; that is less than $16 per month! That doesn’t seem out of reach even on a student budget. Actually, $16 per month is just 53 cents a day!

There are some things you spend more on in college like…

  • Coffee (just a plain black drip coffee costs more if you are getting one every day)
  • Going to the movies with your friends. Even if you just see 1-2 movies a month it will cost more than renters insurance.
  • Newspaper
  • Dorm laundry facility
  • Bus or subway rides
  • Your cell phone
  • A pack of gum/mints
  • A bottle of water
  • Late night pizza
  • Late night Jimmy John’s
  • Making copies at the library (they can get expensive!)
  • Gas for your car (if you are commuting or want to go home every weekend)

Some of these things might not apply to you, but when you think of the things that can happen in college where something of yours might need to be replaced due to covered damage or theft, having renters insurance is definitely worth the price! Make the smart buy and get protection with the only renters insurance that contains an exclusive college student endorsement – with unique features and coverage designed for college life- from GradGuard.