#CareerNow Exclusive: Thank You Note Etiquette

We have a #CareerNow EXCLUSIVE, just for you! After your next interview, keep these tips in mind…


Don’t forget to head to the @BNcollege Twitter Page on 11/5 at 8pm ET for our second Twitterview with career expert, Joan Kuhl. Whether it’s interview tips or internship advice, get answers to even your toughest career questions. Tweet in your questions using the hashtag #CareerNow and find the answers right at your fingertips. Plus, one lucky participant will snag a $25 B&N Gift Card!

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Fighting the Flu: An Interview with Dr. Travis Stork

Dr. Travis Stork, a board-certified emergency medicine physician and Emmy®-nominated host of the successful talk show, The Doctorstook some time to chat with our guest blogger, Dan. Dan is currently a sophomore at Emerson College and had some questions for Dr. Stork about fighting the flu, especially while living on campus.

The DoctorsAre you a college student? These questions are just for you.

Dan H: What are symptoms of the flu?

Dr. Travis Stork: Influenza is a respiratory illness and it can be mild to severe. Symptoms may include fever, muscle and body aches, fatigue, and dry cough, which may or may not be accompanied by sore throat and headache. Rarely, some people experience vomiting and diarrhea. You might not have all the symptoms; you may have just a few of them.

DH: What should I do if I have flu-like symptoms?

TS: The best thing to do is stay home because, if you’re out and about, not only are you not allowing yourself to rest, but you’re potentially spreading the virus. Stay home, drink lots of fluids to keep yourself hydrated, take over-the-counter fever reducers if desired, and eat healthy foods that don’t further compromise your immune system.

One caveat – and this is important – there are certain scenarios where people with the flu can get really sick, particularly if they have underlying illnesses, like asthma or another respiratory problem, or a chronic illness like diabetes. In those instances, you should talk with a doctor ASAP because there are antiviral treatments that, if they are taken within the first few days of symptoms, can reduce symptom duration and prevent potential complications. You need a prescription for those.

DH: How do I prevent getting the flu?

TS: You can do what I do every single year, which is get vaccinated. It can take a couple of weeks for the vaccine to prime your immune system. The beauty of getting vaccinated against influenza is that it greatly reduces your risk of getting it and, if you do get it, your symptoms are likely to be much less severe.

You’re not just doing it for yourself; you’re actually doing it for everyone around you. When you get vaccinated, you’re less likely to get the flu and, therefore, less likely to pass it on.

DH: Is the flu shot 100% effective?

TS: The vaccine is not 100% effective partly because it does not cover every single flu virus out there. It just protects against the most common viruses that scientists predict will circulate in that given year. However, it’s one of those things that I consider to be one of the easiest and best things to do for your health because it reduces your risk of getting the illness AND you’re less likely to pass it on to others as well.

DH: Are there any reasons I should not get the flu shot? Are there any alternatives?

TS: If someone has ever had any type of allergic reaction to the flu vaccine or any ingredient in the flu vaccine, there are some special considerations [for that]. Also if you’re not feeling well and think you may already be sick, the clinic may advise you to delay getting the vaccine.

[As far as alternatives,] the nasal spray vaccine is a little different in the way it works. It’s only recommended for those 2-49 years of age without underlying illness – which is where most college students fit. It’s a viable option for people who have an aversion to needles.

DH: What should I do if my roommate gets the flu?

TS: If you’re going to stay in the room while they’re sick, you have to be extra vigilant. That means keeping disinfectant wipes in the room and washing your hands regularly. If you’re in close proximity with your roommate, ask them – as extreme as it may seem – to wear a mask. It’s really a matter of being smart.

It’s also not unreasonable if your roommate wants some peace and quiet and to be left alone for a few days – just make sure you check in. That’s one thing you need to do as a roommate: be there for them… Get them fluids, get them healthy foods to help them feel better. But, if you don’t want to sleep there at night, it’s not unreasonable to crash with another friend for a few days.

DH: I have an exam this week. Can I go to class? When am I considered “not contagious”?

TS: You can be contagious up to a day before you have any symptoms and you can be contagious for up to a week [after that]. We traditionally say that about 24 hours after your fever goes away, your risk of being contagious is greatly reduced.

During that period, though, when you have a fever and are coughing, you should not go to class. [Getting over] the illness should be your focus. It’s not good for you and it’s not good for your classmates. Once your fever breaks, about 24 hours after that – if you feel better and aren’t coughing any more – your risk of infecting someone else will be low.

Are you the parent of a college student? These questions are for you.

DH: How do I deal with my child being sick while away at school?

TS: For most parents, when your kids are away at school, the biggest thing you can do is just be an emotional support for them when they’re not feeling well. There is not a lot you can do if you live 1,000 miles away. Just make sure your child is doing the right thing. They definitely need to stay hydrated and over the counter fever reducers can help them feel better when they need them. Make sure they are eating well. You can guide them through this whole process remotely!

DH: What should I include in a care package for my child when he/she has the flu?

TS: It should be all things meant to reinforce the message that you are trying to send your student – to feel better. [As I said before], they need fluids and they might need over-the-counter medicines. What you don’t want to do is send your child a ton of sweets, which may taste great but too much sugar actually suppresses the immune system. One of the reasons I wrote my last two books, The Doctor’s Diet and The Doctor’s Diet Cookbook is this whole idea of “food is medicine”. Send them foods that are going to help them heal and feel better.

DH: Should I bring my child home if he/she has the flu?

TS: If they’re in school locally, I think that makes a lot of sense. But, you have to remember, if they’re in school on the opposite coast, your child getting on a plane and flying home is not good for them, or anyone else.

DH: Closing thoughts?

TS: To me, the best medicine when it comes to things like the flu is prevention. That includes good hand hygiene, not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth during cold and flu season, and getting the vaccine. I’m an ER doc and I’ve learned how to treat a lot of illnesses, but the best way is to prevent it in the first place.

Find more information about Dr. Travis Stork here.

*The views and opinions expressed herein are those of Dr. Travis Stork and do not necessarily 
reflect the views of Barnes & Noble College, Your Campus Bookstore, its affiliates, or its employees. ​
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The New Term/Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide

Surviving College and Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: Why They’re Basically the Same Thing

When you think about it, the experiences of going away to college and living during the zombie apocalypse are eerily similar. Frankly, I can’t say that I haven’t more closely resembled “walker” than human after an all-nighter or two. Let’s break it down.

1. (EDIBLE) FOOD IS SCARCE – Let’s just say the dining hall food isn’t exactly something you’re writing home to Mom about. With a limited budget and ever-dwindling stash of slow-to-expire snacks, good food becomes harder and harder to come by. Suddenly, you’re willing to try unidentifiable solids in hopes of discovering a delectable delicacy that no one else dares touch. Baked brain, anyone?

Carl and Pudding*Pro Tip: Get creative! Find a painless way of adding fruits or vegetables into your daily diet accompanied by some of these Dining Hall Hacks. Nuts and granola are great long-lasting, healthy snacks to have stored in your dorm room for those late-night cravings!

2. LACK OF SLEEP – College students are well-known for their little/varied amounts of sleep. Between going out with friends and staying up late to study, you can find yourself feeling, well, a bit like a zombie. Students and survivors tend to follow the same motto, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”.Daryl Sleeping*Pro Tip: Get in a routine. Keeping on a schedule will help your body feel more energized and you’ll require less sleep to function efficiently.

3. HANDLING DIFFICULT ROOMMATES – Small living quarters, no privacy, dealing with different personality types, sharing your things and/or having your things stolen…sound familiar? Unfortunately, if you want to survive college (or the zombie apocalypse), you need to keep calm and find a way to get along.Watch Your Mouth*Pro tip: Set some ground rules. Sometimes a roommate contract or an agreed upon schedule make for the best solutions to roommate issues before they even arise (find more tips here!).

4. BEING SEPARATED FROM LOVED ONES – Being homesick isn’t unusual for college students, especially in your first year. A lot of what is so hard about being away from home is missing your family, friends and, in some cases, your significant other. The best outlook to have is that you will be reunited in the future…even if it’s as “biter” baes.

Glen and Maggie*Pro Tip: Keep yourself busy. If you spend all your time bumming out and thinking about your family and friends back home, you won’t get the best college experience you can. Join in on activities with others and make time to call and text your friends and family at the end of the day. Winter break will be here before you know it!

5. TRANSPORTATION IS HARD TO COME BY – Much like the end of days, finding someone with a car to cart you around in is just not that easy. Could you travel by foot to that class across campus? Sure. If you want to walk alone. At night. In the dark.

Lizzie and Mika*Pro Tip: Plan ahead. If you have a long ride on the bus to class, leave early and study before if you have extra time. You can also try biking to class – it can’t hurt to get some exercise!

6. COMMUNAL BATHROOMS – Okay. Sharing the bathroom with one person is one thing. But sharing a b-room with 20 people? That’s what I call a … less than ideal situation. And not that it really needs to be said BUT some people have more trouble keeping up with their hygiene than others. If it’s this bad in college, one can only imagine the horrors that await us during the apocalypse.Bathrooms*Pro Tip: Bring flip-flops! Get in, get clean, get out. There isn’t much you can do to make the situation any better except make sure you aren’t part of the problem. Clean up your messes and hope that everyone else will do the same.

7. LACK OF CLEAN CLOTHES – The rules of how many times clothes can be worn until they are deemed “dirty” in college are very much skewed from the outside world. Underwear = 1 wear. Shirts = 2 wears. Sweaters = 5 wears. Jeans = Infinite wears. “Does it smell? No? Put it on,” might be the thought that crosses your mind when picking through that heap of rumpled clothes on the floor. Unfortunately, clean vs. dirty during the zombie takeover is probably more like, “Is it bloody? Yes, but only on the elbow? Put it on.”

So Much Laundry*Pro Tip: Febreeze. Reuse clothes without washing *in moderation* and Febreeze between each wear. Be sure you keep your used and new clothes separated so that the clean clothes don’t get “contaminated”.

8. IMPOSSIBLE TO AVOID EXES – Your campus seems HUGE and filled with so many new faces…until your first break-up. Not only do you have to see their annoying face everywhere (SO annoying!), but you see their friends in the dining hall, their new love interest in your psych class, and their study group in your dorm lounge. Sadly, during college (or the zombie apocalypse), the only option is to accept it and move on. All the good ones are taken (or eaten).Andrea and the Governor*Pro Tip: Move on. Relationships will come and go throughout college and you’ll look back on your break-ups a month or two later with a totally different perspective. Focus on your studies and having fun with your friends.

9. IT GETS REALLY HOT – Dorms without AC are quite common, especially at older universities. The sooner you embrace the fact that you WILL closely resemble a wet rat for the hotter months of the year, you’ll be better off. Air conditioning must never be taken for granted, and The Walking Dead has proven that.

Maggie*Pro Tip: Be prepared. Make sure you have a few rotating fans for you and your roommate and (lots of) deodorant. It might even be time to try out that new ponytail ‘do or embrace your natural curls!

10. LACK OF EXERCISE WILL COME BACK TO BITE YOU – Don’t give up on that exercise routine just yet! With all of the changes in sleep, diet and stress, weight gain is not uncommon for college students. Fight off the “Freshman 15” with a healthy amount of exercise so that you don’t have to work twice as hard to get the weight off because…it will be a fight. Plus, toned biceps let you do cool things – like fight off walkers with a katana.

Michonne*Pro Tip: Stay on a schedule. Exercising doesn’t seem so daunting when you get into a daily routine. Not only will you keep the extra weight off but you will feel happier and more energized. Try this simple dorm room workout if you can’t make it to the gym.

You’ve survived! Don’t forget to check your Barnes & Noble College campus bookstore for our The Walking Dead Graphic Novel Displays! #ZomBNC

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Attention (Soon-To-Be) Graduates: How to Wear a Cap & Gown

Graduation is coming up faster than you know it and despite how simple it may seem, wearing a cap and gown correctly can be confusing. Whether you’re receiving your Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral degree, we have your recipe for success! Watch the video or follow the steps below to look your best on graduation day.


1. PRE-USE – Remove gown from plastic bag and place on a hanger to drop out any wrinkles. Use a cool iron or steamer if necessary, but DO NOT wash or dry clean
2. GOWN – Wear with zipper in front. Sleeves should fall below the elbow and above the palm of the hand, bottom should fall below the knees and above the ankles.
3. CAP – Front of cap is indicated by the crown. Crown should rest about 1 inch above eyebrows and the top of the cap should be level to the ground.
4. TASSEL – Starts on right side, moves to left after graduation



1. PRE-USE – Remove gown from plastic bag and place on a hanger to drop out any wrinkles. Use a cool iron or steamer if necessary, but DO NOT wash or dry clean.
2. GOWN – Wear with zipper in front. Hands fit through wrist openings and back of sleeves should hang down at the bottom. Sleeves should fall below the elbow and above the palm of the hand and the bottom should fall below the knees and above the ankles.
3. HOOD – Place hood over neck so it hangs down your back. Decorated portion should be displayed. Fasten cord (in front of hood) to shirt or dress to keep in place.
4. CAP – Front of cap is indicated by the crown. Crown should rest about 1 inch above eyebrows. Top of the cap should be level to the ground.
5. TASSEL – Will depend on your school’s tradition, so make sure you find out.



1. PRE-USE – Remove gown from plastic bag and place on a hanger to drop out any wrinkles. Use a cool iron or steamer if necessary, but DO NOT wash or dry clean.
2. GOWN – Wear with zipper in front. Will typically have bell sleeves and velvet panels. Sleeves should fall below the elbow and above the palm of the hand and the bottom should fall below the knees and above the ankles,
3. HOOD – Place hood over neck so it hangs down your back. The decorated portion should be displayed. Fasten cord (in front of hood) to shirt or dress to keep in place.
4. CAP – Front of cap is indicated by the crown. Crown should rest about 1 inch above eyebrows. Top of the cap should be level to the ground.
5. TASSEL – Will depend on your school’s tradition.

A lot more to it than you thought, huh? I hope these steps make your graduation day just a little bit less stressful. After all, it’s supposed to be a celebration! Congratulations and enjoy that very bright future that you’ve made for yourself – you earned it!!

Written by Blogger, Sandy Gomez

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Dish it: Delicious Mug Dessert Recipes in the Microwave!

Have you ever spent time watching the Food Network and suddenly become inspired to whip up your own delicious desserts? Then reality sets in…you don’t have an actual kitchen in your dorm (#collegeproblems)! These sweet mug desserts from number-2-pencil only need a few ingredients, a mug, and a microwave. You might not be able to build a 3-layer fudge cake, but your fudge cake-in-a-mug will taste just as good.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 firmly packed tablespoon of light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of semi sweet chocolate chunks

What You’ll Do:

  • Melt butter in microwave safe mug or ramekin. Butter should be melted, not boiling.
  • Stir together butter, sugars, vanilla and salt.
  • Stir in egg yolk. Do not use egg white! Save for a different recipe or discard.
  • Add flour and cocoa powder and stir again until well combined.
  • Finally, add chocolate chunks.

Cook for about 45 seconds in microwave. Do not over cook. Microwave times may vary.

Check out more delightful dessert mug recipes here !

Written by Guest Blogger, Myles Marcus

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Instantly Become More Productive

Forcing yourself to be productive is a tricky business for most. Sometimes our brains just don’t want to cooperate! Since you probably don’t want to end up spending St. Patrick’s Day catching up on homework, here are six strategies to reclaim focus right now and get stuff done today.

Use the 5 minute rule – Stick a note on your laptop or desk that says “5 minute rule.” If it takes 5 minutes or less to accomplish a task, always just do it right away! Pretty simple stuff, but you’d be surprised how much less you will procrastinate.

Don’t underestimate the power of coffee and some fruit, like a banana and some strawberries. Caffeine will definitely help you focus and regain some ambition, in addition to being a rich source of antioxidants. Consuming fruit or a light starch with coffee helps to keep you from becoming edgy or over caffeinated. Don’t like coffee? Make it a Macchiato, Chai tea, or herbal alternatives to coffee like Yerba Mate.

Play new or unfamiliar music to trick your brain’s cycle of productivity. Listening to ambient strains of music can double or triple the amount of time you can focus before needing a break. According to music technology service Focus@will, “Most people can only concentrate for a maximum of about 20 or 30 continuous minutes before needing to take a quick break,” but listening to new or unfamiliar music can help break this cycle by “subtly soothing the part of your brain, the limbic system, that is always on the lookout for danger, food, or shiny things.” These distractions can be overcome by listening to music at low volume, slightly louder than ambient noise.

Take a 20 minute nap, it’s like hitting the restart button on your brain. The ideal nap time is between 1:00 and 3:00 PM in the afternoon, according to Lifehacker.com, and should be 15-20 minutes long.

Get out of your room and go work in the library, coffee shop, or a quiet cafeteria. Surprisingly, the bustle of a public place can actually help you focus. According to the Wallstreet Journal, research suggests, “small doses of distraction—including hard-to-read fonts—prompt the mind to work at a more abstract level, which is also a more creative level.” Take into account some coffee shops are louder and more crowded than others. If you still prefer to stay in and study, you can synthesize ambient noise by turning on the TV the volume low or opening the windows.

Look at Pictures of Baby Animals. It’s scientific fact that looking at infant animals can awaken paternal instincts, making you more alert and observant. I recommend kittens, but bunnies, pandas, seals, otters, chicks, ducklings, or puppies will also do.

When and where are you most productive? Let us know in the comments or tweet @bncollege #beingproductive. Stay Focused my Friends!

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Dish it: Eggs McMuggin’

If you have 3 minutes in the morning, plus a mug and a microwave, you can whip up this easy egg dish and skip the breakfast lines in the dining hall. Hungry Girl has a variety of egg in a mug recipes but we like the McMuggin’ special. It’s pretty low-fat and is a good source of protein, so it’s the perfect breakfast for those spring-getting-ready-for-bikini-season mornings.


  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute (or egg whites)
  • One wedge The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 oz. (about 3 slices) lean ham, chopped
  • One-half slice bread
  • 1 tbsp. shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

Toast bread and slice into little squares (think crouton size). Spray a large microwave-safe mug lightly with nonstick spray. Add bread cubes, egg substitute, cheese wedge pieces, and ham, and stir. Microwave for about a minute. Stir gently, and then top with shredded cheese. Microwave for another 30 – 45 seconds. Enjoy! For more easy recipes, check out our Pinterest :)

Photo and recipe courtesy of Hungry Girl.com
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Monday Motivation

-Thomas Edison

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A Handy Chart: The Shelf Life of Food

I sometimes wonder whether things are truly OK to eat after they’ve been left out on the counter or in the back of my freezer for 6 months. Here’s the deal on how long you can leave stuff out, when leftovers need to go, and what “expiration date” or “best by” really translate to. Seriously important stuff! No one wants to get sick right before Spring Break (yuck!). See the full (downloadable) list here.

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Download Worthy: Pocket

We’ve all been there… the awkward moment when you say to your friend, “I saw the most hilarious thing online yesterday! Hold on, I’ll show you!” You search for what feel like forever for the video of Grumpy Cat doing the Harlem Shake, at which point it’s really not as funny anymore. Pocket, an iOS and Android app,  allows you to save online articles, videos, and more to any device to which you download the app. Not only is it available for iPhone, Android, and iPad, but also Safari and Chrome, making it easier to have your own media library anywhere you are. My favorite things about this app are it’s usefulness as a replacement to Chrome and Safari’s “bookmark this page” and the ability to tag saved items.

The app for Google Chrome and Safari has a Pocket button, similar to the Pinterest “Pin It” button, making it easy to save a webpage and in nano-seconds. It also prompts you to add tags to make it even easier to find the page in your Pocket Queue later. The smartphone app allows you to Pocket via the Mail Link to this Page option, from which you send the link to Pocket (the app prompts you to save this to your contacts when you install it), and the link goes right to your List. As the New York Times aptly called it, it is “DVR for the web.” Nifty, huh?

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