7 Ways to Keep In Touch with College Friends Over Winter Break

One of the hardest parts about going home for winter break is missing all of your new college friends. I speak from experience when I say spring semester is much closer than you think, but just to make sure you don’t lose touch, here’s a few ways that I’ve found make it easy to stay in contact.

  1. GROUP TEXTS – After the ‘Hey! How are you?’ part of the text conversation, it can be really hard to find things to talk about in a one-on-one convo. Especially, if you speak with your best friend every day. I find that group chats are infinitely entertaining, even if you don’t have time to participate other than a quick emoji or ‘lol’. The more people involved the better! Create multiple conversations with each of your groups of friends. You’ll never be bored and you’ll find that you can keep in touch with very little effort. *Thumbs Up Emoji*


  1. SEND POSTCARDS OR LETTERS – Going on a trip? Keep it old school and send your friends postcards from your vacation destination. Or if you’re staying home for break, write a plain old notebook-paper letter and send it off. It will be just like the good old days of passing notes in the hallway of your HS. Feel that? It’s the 9th grade nostalgic experience you never thought you’d have.


  1. COLLAGE BLOG – Think about what interests you and your BFFs share. Anything from exercising, to cooking, to music, to crafting, to reality TV – literally anything! Use this as the theme for your group blog. Choose some topics to write about and set a schedule (everyone posts once a week, twice a week, etc.) for your site. Blogging can not only help you keep a connection with your friends, but it’s a way to express yourself and potentially lead to opportunities in your future career. That’s what I like to call a win-win situation.


  1. VIDEO CHAT – Whether you choose to set up Skype dates or host impromptu FaceTime sessions, video chatting is the simplest and most personal way to keep in touch with your long-distance friends. It’s about the closest thing you can get to being together, and depending on your app of choice you may be able to set it up with multiple users and/or use it for FREE. Isn’t technology the best?


  1. GCHAT DURING TV SHOWS – Undoubtedly, there are one or two or ten shows that you and your bestie go insane over. (We’re talking turning off phones, locking doors, not speaking a word and barely breathing until it’s over kind of insane.) To keep the tradition going and to get your QT in, set up a GChat on your laptop before the show. Somehow typing to your BFF (ONLY during commercials) is the single form of acceptable communication during such an event. Again, technology, you’re saving our lives here! <3


  1. SOCIAL MEDIA – At least once a day, make it a point to send your friends a snap, post to their FB page, or tweet at them (preferably something ridiculous). It’s a fun, but short and sweet, way of keeping in touch. It will keep a flow of communication going back and forth, and some of your other friends may even join in. Plus, who doesn’t love the feeling of notifications waiting on your social accounts? I just need to be poked, darn it.



  1. PLAN A TRIP – If it’s doable, save up some money and plan a visit. Trek out to your BFF’s house, have him/her come stay at your place, or plan to meet in the middle for a spontaneous little adventure. It’s always fun to experience new places with great friends, plus there is NO better time to travel! Commence wanderlust…

That’s it! Pick one or more of these options for keeping in contact with your college friends and before you know it you’ll be back at school. How do you keep in touch over the holidays? Have any more recommendations? Let us know!

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Why I Love the DUO Binder (And Why You Will Too)

When I heard about a new student-designed binder, I couldn’t wait to find out more information. As a student, staying organized is always at the top of my mind. It is my great honor to introduce my fellow students to the coolest organization system out there: The Duo Binder! The Duo Binder is perfect for organizing notes, syllabi, and other worksheets for all of your classes. Each binder has three rings to hold loose-leaf paper for your notes and an expandable folder system that can hold various other papers. They don’t call it “Duo” for nothing, folks! It’s the perfect way to stay organized because everything fits comfortably in one binder. No more forgetting important papers in your dorm! Keep reading

The Duo BinderWhat might be the coolest thing about this product is that is was designed by an actual college student! Kelly Harden, an intern for Noble from The University of Central Florida, designed this binder with her fellow college students in mind.  She came up with the idea at a company-wide brainstorming meeting. Employees were discussing unmet consumer needs and she emphasized something that was affecting her personally: organization. Kelly envisioned one “grab and go” system to keep all of the pieces together. As a college student who knew what it was like to feel overwhelmed and disorganized, she felt that there needed to be a better way to organize paperwork, syllabi, etc. It’s no surprise that her school experiences helped her focus on what students really need.

I would definitely recommend investing in a Duo Binder (or 5…). They are available at select Barnes & Noble College bookstores, so check with yours! Happy organizing!

Written by Guest Blogger, Ilana S. of Rutgers University

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College Tip: Rent an HDTV with campusTVs

It happens every year: that awkward conversation between you and your roommate(s) about who is going to get a TV for your dorm or apartment. You consider splitting the price of a TV, but then realize…what are you going to do with it at the end of the year? You consider skipping the TV altogether, only to discover that Homeland, The Walking Dead, and American Horror Story are all coming back for their new seasons this fall. To avoid all this hassle and confusion, campusTVs has come up with a solution.

With campusTVs, you an07.28.14 Campus TVs Final Creatived your roommates have the option to rent an HDTV for the year! This way, you can split the cost without worrying about what will happen come the end of the semester. You know how we feel about rental textbooks, and we have a good feeling about rental televisions too! On top of the obvious convenience factor, they also offer free delivery, setup, and pick-up so you don’t have to worry about transportation logistics – especially nice if you live far from school.

And for those of you that can’t live without your Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black, you can upgrade to a Smart TV by adding a Roku Box. This allows you to stream to all your favorite TV shows and movies right from your Netflix, HBOGo, HuluPlus accounts and more! Just remember to study in between!

Plus, signing up is simple. Head to campusTVs’ website and select which options work best for you! Then, sit back and relax – your TV will be delivered, set up, and picked up for free!

Just imagine, you won’t have to deal with those difficult conversations between you and your roommate(s) and your TV will be delivered, setup, and picked up for free!

Written by Guest Blogger, Kat P.

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Back to Campus Checklist

The new semester is slowly – but surely – sneaking up on us. It’s easy to procrastinate when it comes to preparing for the new term, but we’re here to help you get ready sooner rather than later. Avoid the last-minute scrambling and take a look at our checklist below. Then, when it really is time to head back to school, you can focus on fun (rather than stress).

First, things first…

Before You Get to CampusThere are a few things to get done before you even set foot on campus. Afraid you’ll forget something? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s get started:

1. Order your textbooks.

2. Create a packing list to stay organized (look below for a great list to get you started!)

3. Purchase the items on your list that you don’t already have.

3. Spend quality time with your friends and family.

4. Eat at your favorite restaurant at home.

5. Make a picture collage to hang in your dorm room.

6. Talk to your roommate and get to know each other.

7. Schedule (and attend!) all necessary doctor appointments in and fill out any forms you may need.

8. Take a relaxing day off and enjoy a day trip to the beach.

9. Get a fresh new haircut.

10. Decide if you need a credit card or debit card.

11. Update your music.

 Next up…

Time to PackPacking to head back to campus can be stressful. What’s the good news? It doesn’t have to be! Check out our list below to help you get started…

Packing ListNow that you have a general idea of what to pack, you need to think of how to pack. Packing efficiently will save you time and precious space in your suitcase.

Packing Tips!

  1. You do not need to bring every single thing in your closet! Chances are you will get a bunch of free t-shirts during freshman year; so don’t feel the need to pack every single one. Additionally, there’s a good chance you’ll visit home during Thanksgiving or Fall break, so hold off on packing all of your heavy winter items until then.
  2. Be practical when you are packing! If you didn’t wear something in high school, you probably won’t wear it in college. Consider donating unused items instead.
  3. If you can, keep your clothes on hangers when transporting them to school! It will save you so (re: SOOOOO) much time by not having to un-hang and re-hang all your clothes.
  4. Check to see what your school provides! For example, some schools may provide a microwave in a common room. Knowing this will save you money and space in your car when packing.
  5. Coordinate with your roommate. Make sure you know what he/she is bringing so that you don’t bring duplicates.

You’ve done all of the planning. You’ve packed your suitcase(s). Moving on to…

When You Arrive on CampusYou made it! You’ve arrived on campus and you’re ready to start the new semester. However, there are a few things left do before the new term kicks off.

  1. Pick up your textbooks. The campus bookstore often gives you the option to pick up your order in-store…for free!
  2. Get your student ID card if you don’t have it already.
  3. Organize your room. Make sure everything is in order for the first day.
  4. Map out your classes so you know exactly where to go. Avoid the terror of walking into the wrong lecture hall.
  5. Keep your door open and start meeting new people!
  6. Check out your college bookstore and get a new t-shirt to display your school pride.
  7. Look at your school’s calendar for upcoming events, like homecoming.
  8. Think about how you will get involved! Check out different clubs, sports, or Greek life and see which interest you.

You’re all set! Get ready for a great semester ahead.

Written by Guest Blogger, Kat P. of Elon University

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College Move-In Day Essentials

Between the packing lists, the checklists, the textbook lists…you probably feel like it’s impossible to forget anything you might need for your freshman year. But then, move-in day comes along and you’re left wishing you had a few extra things with you! To prevent this from happening you, we made a list of things to help you avoid those feelings of “I wish I brought that…” on move-in day!

Item #1: Tape Measure – Most freshman dorms tend to be on the smaller side. Therefore, it is key to have the perfect furniture arrangement. An easy way to do this without wasting time and energy on moving desks and beds all over is to bring a tape measure! Simply measure the item you plan on moving and see if that length fits in the spot you want it…before you haul it across the room.

Item #2: Handtruck – Moving in as a freshman, I guarantee your car will be filled to the top with all of your college stuff. To avoid making one hundred trips back and forth to your car (not to mention avoid any potential back pain the next day), invest in a handtruck! With these, you can pile up heavy boxes and crates and easily wheel them to your dorm room. Plus, most handtrucks will fold up so you won’t have to worry about sacrificing any room in the car. These work very well with mini-fridges and other heavy appliances.

Item #3: Mini fan – No matter how high the air conditioning is on in your dorm (if there IS air conditioning), it is going to be hot! With everyone moving in at once, the hallway becomes very hectic with people moving things in left and right. To stay cool amidst the craziness, I recommend bringing a mini fan that you can simply pull out anytime you need a wave of cold air.

Move In Day EssentialsGeneral Tips:

  1. Wear comfortable clothes and sneakers! You are going to be moving boxes and other college supplies, not going to a fashion show. Your feet will thank you later.
  2. Bring water! Trust me, you will need to stay hydrated. Keep some water on hand to stay cool.
  3. Know where you packed scissors! Chances are you are going to need to open things once you arrive. It will save you time and stress if you can easily access them!
  4. Label everything! Someone else will probably have the same plastic drawers or lamp as you. To avoid any confusion, label all your things with your name and dorm room/number. Also if anything gets lost, they will know where to find you!
  5. Breathe! You will have all year to make sure everything in your room is just right. There is no need to stress over little things or get upset if you don’t like how something is arranged, you can always move it!

Written by Kat P. of Elon University

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Staying Inspired During College

With readings, exams, and extra curricular activities on your plate, it is very common to feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all of the work that we have to do.  Especially during freshman year, when students are still adjusting, it is difficult to stay calm in moments of distress.  Don’t worry though; I have some great tips for you to keep you inspired and feeling strong when things get hard at school.

Number one; create an inspiration board and paste it on your dorm room wall, ceiling, computer background, or anywhere else you feel that you will see it most.  On your board, make sure to include a variety of pictures and phrases that emit positivity and your vision of happiness and success.  For example, put some pictures of you and your friends smiling and laughing together, a picture of a career you may want to have one day, your favorite animal, etc.  This may seem like a silly idea, but seeing these images around you on a daily basis will serve as inspiration for you to work harder in everything that you do and remember what it is that you are working for.  Also, during those times of crisis, such as finals week, you will be able to stay strong, knowing that all of the things you love and want to have are on their way if you keep working hard.

Number two; make it a part of your college life to – every so often – go to a new place or interact with new people.  It is so easy to get stuck in a routine and feel uninspired, which can make our crises seem even worse.  It is important that, as college students, we try new things…clubs, food, talking to new people even when we feel very shy, etc.  These new opportunities will keep us inspired and in a better mood so that when crises strike, we will know how to handle them head on!

Number three; what better way to calm a crisis than to avoid one in the first place? A great way to prevent crises from happening is to keep yourself in enough of routine.  Your day does not need to be 100% scheduled, but it is important to keep yourself somewhat structured and organized so that you can get a good amount of work done each day without saving it all for the last minute, which could cause a lot of potential stress.

School can definitely be a bit stressful sometimes, but it is important to remember to remain calm and inspired through these difficult moments.  Live your college life with inspiration, structure, and goals, and you will be sure to have less stress and crises in your life.  Good luck!

Written by Guest Blogger, Ilana S. of Rutgers University

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Impressing Your Professors: A ‘How To’ Guide For New Students

Going to a new school can be scary – from moving into a dorm to trying to navigate through the dining hall.  Luckily, I have a few tips to help you do well in your classes. Once you feel comfortable in the classroom, I promise that the other new aspects of college life will fall into place.

Although adjusting to college life can be difficult at first, it will get much easier once you feel comfortable in class.  For this reason, it is vital that you create strong connections with your professors.  The first step is to sit in the front of the classroom. This will make a great impression on your professor, even if you’re in a huge lecture hall.  Also, it will prevent you from getting distracted as easily during class and keep you off of your phone and Facebook.  Not to mention, since you’ll be paying more attention to lecture material, there’s a good chance your grade will increase as well.

The second step is to go to office hours!  Even if you understand the material fairly well, it can still be very beneficial for you (and your GPA) if you pop in and say hello to your professor during their office hours. They schedule these hours purposely so that students can come by. They can provide additional helpful information and clear up all of your questions.  Another great part about visiting your professors during office hours is that it may help you to find a clearer path concerning what you’re interested in as a major or career.  They can become your mentor and help inspire you to choose the direction in which you would like to go.  After all, isn’t that why they’re there?

The last step is something you probably know from high school, but is just as important now.  Can anyone guess? That’s right…class participation!  It is very important that you participate regularly – and not just for the sake of your grade. It’s also important that your professor gets to know you and (hopefully) is impressed with your enthusiasm toward learning.

Follow this “How-To Guide” and you will be good to go! I have no doubt that these helpful tools will be of great service to you! I wish you luck in school, but now I am confident that you won’t need it!

Written by Guest Blogger, Ilana S. of Rutgers University

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Surviving Finals Week

Finals week has crept up on us again – it’s time to dust off those textbooks and get down to business. Don’t be stressed, be prepared! Follow these important tips (and check here for even more!) to ensure that you make it through finals unscathed. From starting to study early, to giving yourself incentives, we cover it all. Keep reading

  1. START STUDYING EARLY – The finals themselves really aren’t the worst part of finals week – it’s the fact that we procrastinate, and then have to stress and cram 4 months of knowledge into our confused little heads in a matter of a day or two. Approach your exams and projects the smart way by planning out your goals for each class by day. Switch up the subject that you’re working on throughout the day if you tend to get bored, or stick with one class if you prefer to get in (and stay in) the zone. Do whatever works for you, but be sure to leave yourself more than the 12 minute bus ride on the way to the final. While I would applaud you for your boldness…no. Just no.
  2. BE HEALTHY – Exam week isn’t the time to be eating poorly, skipping the gym, or getting sick. Try your best to be healthy – you’ll not only feel better but you’ll perform better too! Stock up on brain foods and snacks like fish (who’s up for some sushi?), blueberries, tomatoes, broccoli, nuts, avocados, and pumpkin seeds. It’s also important to drink plenty of water and maintain your regular exercise routine. If you’re not much of a gym nut, go for a short walk around campus once a day. Aside from the endorphins from exercise, the fresh air and sunshine can also do wonders for your mental health.
  3. GET SOME SLEEP – Like many of you, I’m guilty of pulling my fair share of all-nighters. While this may seem like a brilliant idea at the time, it could really be hurting your performance on finals much more than helping. While you sleep, your brain actually absorbs all of that information that you’ve been burning into your retinas all day. You’ll be less likely to forget the process of photosynthesis, or how to solve a quadratic equation, or that you didn’t put on pants and you’re halfway to the bus stop. Moral of the story? Get some shut eye.
  4. USE INTERACTIVE STUDY METHODS – Instead of just reading page after page of notes, try organizing the information in a different way that makes it more memorable. I’ve always found that rewriting my notes in a structured way freshens up the data in my mind and I’m less likely to be unconsciously reading/retaining nothing. You could also try making flash cards for exams that require a lot of memorization (and less comprehension). If you find it more effective to study with others, join a study group. Your classmates may have a different take on the information that could help you to understand or remember your notes more easily. Make up a song or mnemonic device together. Then, reward yourselves with fudge. Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge.
  5. CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT – Do yourself a favor and don’t stick to one place for an entire day of studying. Research has shown that students retain more of what they study when moving around throughout the day. Spend a few hours in your room, a few at the library – maybe even a few outside if it’s nice – just be sure to switch it up. Pick places that are cool in temperature and have lots of natural light to maintain your concentration most effectively.
  6. TAKE BREAKS – To get the most out of your study time, take frequent breaks. While the “correct” number varies, taking at least 2 short breaks per hour (depending on your attention span) seems to work well for most. This may seem a little too frequent, but it has actually been proven to help keep the brain much more focused during the time you are studying, thereby improving your score on those pesky little finals.
  7. STAY AWAY FROM TECHNOLOGY – Yes, there will be certain times where you need to use your computer to study, but if you don’t – don’t take it with you! Distractions like Facebook, Instagram, and that really cool new game you downloaded with “that cute little puppy who does all those things and other stuff”, can lead to hours upon hours of wasted study time. Turn your phone off, or if you can’t be trusted, leave it behind along with your iPad, tablet, laptop, and any other assorted devices you have the “cute little puppy” app downloaded. Fear not, the digital world will most definitely not forget about you, and that cute little puppy will forever be cute.
  8. REWARD YOURSELF – Treat yourself to an ice cream cone or a dinner out with friends once you get through an exam or finish a final project. For one thing, it will boost your morale and reset your mind for the next final. And for another – it’s fun. We need fun to FUNction. Get it? Ha. Ha. But really, it’s important to have a silver lining in sight that makes you feel just a tad bit saner. You can also try setting sub-goals where you receive small rewards once you achieve them. For example, once you complete studying a full chapter, you get to turn on your phone and check Twitter for 5 minutes. The next time, Facebook for 5 minutes, and so on. If food is more of a motivator, try to replace sweets with those brain food snacks I talked about earlier – blueberries or some peanuts would make for a delicious reward at the end of study session.

That’s it! Use these tips to help you breeze through finals like it’s your job. Want some more advice? Check out more tips here.

What do you do to prepare for finals? Any tips we missed? Let us know!

Written by blogger, Sandy Gomez

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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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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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