Finding the Right Mentor for You

As much as we’d like to get to where we want on our own, it often take the support of others to really propel us forward. We get the help of family, friends, and other supportive people. In particular, mentors can play a large part in shaping who we are and what we become. A mentor can be found in many forms, such as a teacher or an older classmate or friend. An article in “I Want Her Job” looks at how to find a mentor to guide your endeavors.

How to Find (And Keep) the Right Mentor For You:

1.)   Figure out what you want

What goal are you going for? What areas do you need guidance in? What kind of mentorship are you looking for?

2.)   Get the Coffee

Make as many connections as you can. You never know who you’ll find to help you or who you can help.

3.)   Create (and keep) the Relationship

Once you’ve found someone who you can see as a potential mentor, it’s time to create the relationship. Reach out to them, and remember that a relationship is a two-way street.

Be sure to check out the full piece for more helpful mentor advice!

Written by Guest Blogger, Katherine Chang

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Back to School Checklist

As a kid, “Back to School” was a cringe-worthy, shudder-inducing time of year. It meant less time to play outside, the end of trips to the swimming pool, and back to tests and homework. Once you reach college, however, “Back to School” becomes an exciting start to a new chapter! There are new professors to learn from, new floor mates to hang out with, and tons of new activities going on on campus.  Be prepared for everything that comes your way with our handy Back to School Checklist! From ordering your books to planning out your dorm set-up, there is a lot to get done before classes start. However, it doesn’t have to be stressful! Plan ahead and you’ll have nothing left to do except be excited. Let’s get started with Step 1…

1. Order Your Books – This goes without saying. However, how your order your books can be important. Browse your bookstore website to find out which textbook options fit your needs. Looking to shop on a budget? Save big by renting used textbooks (yes, you can write & highlight in them!). Thinking of going digital? Check for eTextbook options.

Have everything all set before you even set foot on campus. Choose to order online and pick up on campus – the bookstore staff will have everything put together for you when you arrive! Now that is convenient.

2. Map Out Your Schedule – Few things feel more awkward than showing up to class on your first day…late. Save the grand entrance for another time and map out your schedule beforehand. After all, you want a good seat don’t you?

3. Get Your Finances in Order – No, we’re not saying you have to start investing heavily in the stock market or start researching mortgage rates. Simply find a way to manage your own budget in a way that works for you.

We are big fans of the app GoBank (And also, just so you know, GoBank is a business partner of Barnes & Noble College!). You check your balance without logging in, pay your cable bill or rent, send and receive money to and from friends and family all from your cell phone. It makes managing your money easier than ever. Members are free to choose what they want to pay for their monthly membership fee, anywhere from $0-$9. They’ll receive the same features, no matter what.

So maybe planning out every inch of your new dorm is a bit excessive, but it helps to plan out the general set-up of your room before you get to campus. Check your school’s website for dimensions or room layouts. If your room looks small or oddly shaped, it might be worth it to leave some of your extra stuff at home.

Check your bookstore website for their dorm collection! There you’ll find tons of supplies, electronics, and accessories all perfect for sprucing up a barren dormitory.

Reach out to your roommate and coordinate who will bring what. One of you might already have something, so there is no need for the other to go out and buy it. Work together to make your shared space as enjoyable as possible.

Two years ago we posted an article about how important it is to protect all of the technology you’re toting around. Laptops, cell phones, tablets…these items cost a lot of money and it’s important to treat them properly. Sites like Society 6 offer tons of awesome cases and skins, so pro-tech-t your tech in style!

One of our favorite new tech accessories comes from Guerilla. Add a fun case to your calculator in a variety of exciting colors (pick one up at your campus bookstore!).

We’re all guilty of the same packing method. You know – throw everything into a suitcase and hope you can squish it until it fits. Packing this way, however, often leads to extra items you don’t need and the inevitable face-palm upon realizing all of things you do need…but forgot. Beyond that, the disorganization leads to a seemingly endless unpacking session with half of your time spent searching through the bottomless pile.

When it comes to your clothes, pack like-items together (ex – jeans, tees, socks) and put heavier items (like shoes or coats) toward the bottom of your suitcase. Try rolling your shirts tightly together in order to fit as many as possible.

You also might consider grouping everything you need into categories – bedding, desk & school supplies, decorations, etc. That way you can unpack swiftly and correctly…and spend more time catching up with friends.

Really! It’s not a bad idea to think about the big picture. Is there anything specific you want to accomplish this semester? It could be academic – getting an A in Organic Chemistry. Or maybe you were thinking on a more personal level – expanding your group of friends. Whatever your goals may be, make sure they reflect what you want to get out of the new semester. Figure out how you can work towards your goals each day.

Looking for even more tips? Check out our Back to School Survival Guide!

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How To: Fold Your Shirt in Only Two Seconds!

When you only have 15 minutes until your next class but realize you have to fold your freshly dried laundry before it wrinkles, what do you do?  You probably just bunch it together, throw it in the drawer, and let everything get wrinkled (again).  I found this great video on YouTube that teaches you how to fold your shirts in 2 SECONDS! This video will help you save so much time and avoided the dreaded need to iron your clothes!

Find the video here!

Written by Guest Blogger, Myles Marcus

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Download Worthy: GoBank’s Nearest Bank Branch is in Your Pocket

GoBank, the bank used by designers on this season’s Project Runway , is a bank account designed to be opened and used on your mobile phone. You can download the free app to your Android or iPhone, sign up, then do all of the normal banking activities you’re used to (and a few you’re not). You’ll never have to step foot into a bank branch again.

Check your balance without logging in, pay your cable bill or rent, send and receive money to and from friends and fam—you can do it all on the app. Want to pull out cash? No need to log in, just tap on the ATM Finder, and it will list all the free ATMs around you. There are over 42,000 scattered over the U.S. (Ahem, that’s about twice as many as Chase and Bank of America according to info from their websites.) Another bonus? No overdraft fees.

You can use your GoBank debit card to make purchases. Choose their standard card for free, or design your own for $9 with a photo from your phone, computer or Facebook. Right now, if you head into your campus’ Barnes and Noble bookstore before July 31, you can pick up a GoBank info packet, along with a promo code for a free photo debit card. Or, just use the code below. Check out all of their Simple Fees at GoBank.com/NoWorries.

GoBank offers a little extra flavor when it comes to money management. Members are free to choose what they want to pay for their monthly membership fee, anywhere from $0-$9. They’ll receive the same features, no matter what.

GoBankers can also build a budget to better understand their money situation, then ask the Fortune Teller if they can afford it. The Fortune Teller is an animated dog named Professor Dog, who exists in real life as the CEO’s favorite pet. You can view Professor Dog, affectionately nicknamed “PD”, on GoBank’s Instagram account.

Like what you hear? Follow GoBank on Twitter, “Like” them on Facebook, then download the free app. You can sign up for an account in between classes… depending on your thumb size of course.

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Dish It: Only Two Ingredients!?

Cooking while at school can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a way to constantly get to the store. Imagine my delight when I found this awesome website with 34 Two-Ingredient recipes! I can be a picky eater, but some of these look delicious and I would have never thought of them myself. Some require an oven but some require no cooking at all, how fabulous!

Do you like Nutella? There’s a recipe for Nutella Cake! Thin mints? They have that too! I think my favorite is the peanut butter banana ice cream.

You have to check their website out. The pictures make me want to eat it all!

Do you think you can make these recipes easily at school?

Written by Guest Blogger, Maria Cafferata

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Surviving Freshman Year: Beat the Homesickness

When I left for freshman year of college, my parents were crying…hard. They cried and cried while I just waved goodbye. I was so excited to embark on this new journey that I really didn’t think that I could ever miss home. In my mind, I wondered who could possibly miss following tons of rules and having to answer to parents at all times?

Well, that wears off after a bit.

If you start feeling homesick or miss your friends (or for me, my dog!), don’t stress! There are tons of ways to beat that feeling and to continue making the most of your freshman year.

Get Out: Yes get out of bed, get out of your room, go meet people! Most dorm rooms have common areas, so go watch TV down there, play pool, or just hang out with new people! Sitting in your room sulking won’t help you feel better.

Social Network: In the world of Facebook and Twitter, you can always remain connected to the people you love. Personally, I’m a bit addicted to Facbeook, especially since it’s on my cell phone. This is a great way of keeping in touch with your friends UNLESS you spend 24/7 on it instead of making new friends. Everything in moderation.

Skype: Video chatting, enough said.

Write letters to add a personal touch!

Write Letters: I know it sounds corny but my friend and I were “pen pals” while we were both away at school. It felt awesome to get a hand written letter about her week instead of a million text messages. It was really personalized instead of generic and meaningless.

Get Involved: Find some kind of organization that interests you or that is important to your major. I joined Psych Club because I’m a psych major. It’s a great resume builder and a good resources for classwork, homework, and friends. Staying busy will help keep you focused on the future instead of all the things you miss from hom.

The overall theme here… get out of your comfort zone and make the best out of your situation! College offers so many new opportunities…you don’t want to miss out just because you’d rather gaze at a picture of your cat for hours on end.

So, the next question is…what if you’re reading this and you’re already an upperclassmen? Do you have any ideas that may help our incoming freshman? Post them in the comments below!

Written by Guest Blogger, Maria Cafferata

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Surviving Summer Session

The dreaded words since high school… summer school! Believe it or not, many college students have to take summer classes. It could be because they need to retake a class because of a not so hot grade, but it might just be so they can stay on track with graduation…this is normal! I can honestly say that all of my friends have at least taken one summer class! Myself? I’m on number three…

Get organized with a calendar.

Think you don’t have time for a summer class? Think again! During my first summer class (which was a 45 minutes away, every day for six weeks), I was also managing a clothing store. This summer, I am working full time (1 ½ hour commute each way), with a part time job on the side while taking TWO classes. The classes are online, with only one day of commuting but online classes can be just as difficult as traditional courses. I’m not telling you this so you feel bad for me and my “busy bee” schedule. Instead, think of it as motivation for working out your own schedule!

To give you the last little boost you might need, here are some tips that ALWAYS work for me during summer session.

How to survive:

Prioritize!

Yes you want to go to the shore with your friends for the week but school is a little more important than getting a tan. My 21st birthday happened to fall during my first week of classes and work. I made time to see my friends, but still got up at 5:15 for work the next morning!

Time Management is key.

You MUST plan your weeks ahead, especially if you are juggling many things at once. You also must be prepared. Plan your homework, study, and leisure times. Also, be sure to read all of the information about due dates and expectations from your professor so you are not caught by surprise later. For example, I know I have two discussions and an exam due on Sunday night. However, I’m planning to visit my sisters to see my baby niece that day…and homework is the last thing I want to worry about. The solution? I handed in my work today! A great way to plan ahead is to use a calendar, agenda, or post-it notes so you can visually see your work load and be able to check things off a list, that’s my favorite thing to do! Set reminders in your phone if you have to, just stay on track.

Set Goals

This goes along with time management. Set goals with reading time, study time, etc. Based on your schedule for the week have a goal to read everything by Wednesday, finish your written assignment Thursday, and take your exam Friday.

Study!

Summer does not equal slacking. How will you pass exams if you don’t study? This is especially important if you are taking online classes. Sitting in a classroom helps you absorb a lot of the information (of course you will still need to study!). However, online classes force you to teach yourself and really focus. Besides learning the information at hand, give yourself plenty of time for study so you can really get the concepts down, but also seek help if needed. If you wait until the day it is due you probably won’t be able to receive much help. Also – because you are probably living at home, make sure to study in a quiet place away from everyone else. Studying in bed with the TV on and your little siblings running around probably is not the best idea.

Work with Work…

Your boss will understand that you are taking classes. If you need to only work four days instead of five a week talk to your boss! Even if you can’t have the day maybe they can offer you some advice or solutions to lower your stress levels.

Flash card envelopes.

I don’t know how you study, but I need music playing, I need to reread and rewrite the information, I need something to snack on and a drink, and I need every single thing I need to do written in front of me. Sometimes, I even go so far as to make a million flash cards and use two envelopes to test myself! If I know the answer it goes in the “IK!” envelope, if I don’t the flashcard goes in the “IDK” envelope.

Use your resources.

Professors are your friends! If you’re struggling, ask for help. Summer sessions are much shorter than full semesters. Because they are so compact, it’s important to ask for help as soon as you need it. If you wait until the end there is little time to recover and pull your grades back together.

R&R!

This is the most important. Summer is a time to rest and relax! Plan times to go to the beach with your friends, have a campfire, or just take a nap! If you plan ahead and use your time management and goal setting skills you can plan to have a free weekend, every weekend! That’s why I’m finishing all my work NOW so I can go to my sister’s house!

This is your summer; use it to your advantage!

What other helpful tips do you have about surviving summer classes? Post them in the comments below!

Written by Guest Blogger, Maria Cafferata

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Winter Break To-Do List

We all know how fast Winter Break flies by. One minute you’re watching Elf and chugging hot cocoa and the next you’re scrambling to find that missing pair of socks you’ll need to pack for the semester ahead. However, we’ve got everything you need to kick off the best semester yet! So sit back, relax, and watch a few more How I Met Your Mother reruns. You survived the first half of the school year (using our Back to School Survival Guide, obviously) and we’re here to help you finish it out right.

Check these items off your To-Do List this winter break and you’ll usher in the new semester with ease.

TO DO LIST:

[] Check your move-in times. Moving in during the first semester becomes such a production that the second time around seems like a walk in the park. However, most schools still ask that students moving back in arrive between very specific times – often determined by their residence hall and/or floor. Check your school’s website so you’re fully informed.

[] Pack layers. Spring weather is notoriously unpredictable. Rain, wind, and changing temperatures make it difficult to dress appropriately. Make sure to include clothes that can be easily layered and you’ll be ready for whatever Mother Nature brings your way.

[] Review and map out your schedule. Who wants to be late their first day? Make sure you know where you’re going and at what time. Store your schedule in your cell phone in case you need a quick reference.

[] Order your textbooks. Find your bookstore and figure out which textbook options works for you and your budget. Rentals help you save more than 50% of the cost and you can still write and highlight in the books!

[] Make a list of items you wish you’d had last semester. You know that moment when you say to yourself “If only I had a ______!”? Think back to each of those times and make a list. You’ll be better prepared for next semester.

[] Keep in touch with your friends from school. Last year we posted “Keep in Touch During Winter Break” and we still think it’s important now! Keep your school friendships going even when you’re not all living ten feet apart. You’ll feel even more connected when you get back.

What items fall on your to-do list over Winter Break? Post a comment below!

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Download Worthy: Trello

Group projects are a common part of many college courses. Often, they entail weeks of seemingly-endless brainstorming and collaboration until the looming due date approaches. Make your team experience run more smoothly with the Trello app. Create boards, organize them by cards, and upload attachments – all in one place!

This free app helps your group improve communication by eliminating an influx of emails and keeping everyone on the same page. You can communicate with other team members in real time in order to gather opinions and assign tasks. Group projects are complicated enough – simplify them with this helpful app!

Looking for more tips to help you survive your next group project? Check out our guide here!

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The Roommate Diaries: Keeping the Peace

Even if you’re blessed with a great roommate, there is still a chance you two will hit some bumps in the road. When you’re living in a tight space with another person, it’s only natural to hit some rocky patches. The trick is to prevent slight disagreements from exploding into unnecessary battles. Preventing a blow up will save you both time and energy.

1. Take a step back. Before you get worked up over something, relax for a minute. Are you really that angry that your roommate left the window open or are you actually stressed about your upcoming Finance midterm? Make sure your anger isn’t misdirected before you bring it up to your roommate.

2. Pick your battles. Just because you like to have your closet perfectly organized, doesn’t mean your roommate operates the same way. Unless his or her clothes are overflowing onto your things, chalk it up to accepting your differences. It’s not your job to pick at everything he or she is doing. Focus on the bigger picture.

3. Communicate effectively. If something really is bothering you and the time has come to speak up, pick your words (and tone) carefully. If you launch into an issue in attack mode, your roommate is going to respond in the same manner. Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill – be honest, but calm. Rather than sit back and criticize, offer a solution to the problem.

For more roommate advice, check out our other posts below:

Roommate Survival Guide
The Roommate Diaries: Making a Good Impression

How do you keep the peace with a roommate? Post your advice below!

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