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 readingFull posts →

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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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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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5 Questions to Help Your New College Student Map Out the First Several Months at School

Leaving for college doesn’t just affect students, it affects parents as well! Below, we’ve got some exclusive content just for parents from Harlan Cohen’s book, The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only.

Mapping out a path or a plan for your soon-to-be college student can really set them up for success.  Spend some time with your son or daughter and ask the following questions.  These questions will help focus on creating BIG, but also realistic expectations, will create a timeline to reach these expectations, and will create options. Options are important. A student with options (and lots of places to find connections on campus) will make smarter, better, and safer decisions.

1. What would be your perfect first year in college (topics to discuss include friends, academics, visits home, social life, activities, and experiences outside the classroom)? This question is about creating expectations. Without expectations one lacks direction. You don’t want your child to just wait for it all to happen.

2. How do you plan on making this happen? Without a plan, it’s hard to turn expectations into reality. If your child hasn’t thought about this yet, be patient. Make it clear that you want him or her to get involved outside the classroom.  Try to get your son or daughter thinking about the activities, organizations, and opportunities available on campus.

3. Who are some people on campus who can help you make this happen? Suggest your child identify five people he or she can turn to for advice and help along the way (students on campus, friends, family, professionals, etc.).  Your child needs support and help when you’re not there.

4. How much time are you going to give yourself to make it all happen? It doesn’t usually happen in one week, one month, or even one year. It can take time. You need to be patient and your child needs to be patient. Too many times students are in a big hurry to reach big goals and get disappointed if it all doesn’t happen right away. Plant the seed that it can take a couple of years—not a couple of weeks or months—to make it happen.

5. What can I (we) do to help support you to make it happen?
Asking what you can do sends a message that you are willing to help, but more importantly, that you don’t assume your child needs your help. There’s nothing wrong with coaching him or her, but your student needs to be the one to make it all happen.

A Happy Way to End the Conversation: If you don’t already do this, it’s nice to be reminded that no matter what happens during this experience, you will always be there for your child. Telling, showing, and sending lots of care packages (students love care packages!) will help remind your child that you love him or her and will be there no matter what.

To learn more or to purchase Harlan Cohen’s book, click here.
To sign up for Harlan Cohen’s Free Mini-Course, 5 Simple Rules for College Parents, click here.

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Roommate Do’s and Don’ts

With college acceptance letters rolling in and freshman year looming on the horizon, we know that high school seniors have a lot on their minds. Adjusting to campus can be an overwhelming feat but, with the right attitude and right advice, it can also be a lot of fun.

A few weeks ago, we posted our How To Be A Darn Good Roommate blog with three major tips for getting along with your new freshman roommate. This week we’re back with more Do’s and Don’ts from our friends at Seventeen Magazine.

Get more tips and tricks from the Seventeen Ultimate Guide to College: Everything You Need to Know to Step Onto Campus and Own It, Running Press 2014! Find more information or purchase it here.

Roommate Do and Dont

What advice do you have?

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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.

BACHELORS

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

 

MASTERS

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.

 

DOCTORAL

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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How To Be A Darn Good Dorm Roommate

Living in close quarters with someone – friend or stranger – can become a toxic situation very quickly. By the end of your college career, you will have more than enough fill-in-the-blank roommate stories. Don’t let the memories of the best time of your life be clouded with negative thoughts about how your first roommate almost ruined your freshman year.

Try these 3 tricks for living harmoniously… or something like that:

1. LAY DOWN THE LAW – And yes, I do mean a roommate agreement. You don’t need to take it as far as a signed contract – but be sure to cover all the matters that are important to you and your happiness for the school year. Here’s a few that I find to be particularly significant:

  • CLEANING – Make a schedule AND keep on top of it. Choose a day of the week to wipe down the desks, take out the garbage, and get those dust bunnies out from under the bed (they aren’t as cute as they sound).
  • SHARING – Be sure to establish what’s on or off limits. If you’ve had issues sharing since Jimmy popped the eyeball out of your Furby in the 4th grade, be honest about it. But you also can’t expect to be able to borrow new roomie’s things as you please. A good, general rule of thumb here is to ask BEFORE borrowing. Sorry Suzy, you can wear my new Michael Kors leather jacket the day Ryan Gosling gets down on one knee and proposes to me (so, to be clear, we’re looking at an estimated 2-3 years here).
  • GUESTS – This is a BIG one! Set up the rules around friends hanging out during the week (compare your class/work schedules), as well as finding common ground on overnight guests. If you or your roommate has a significant other, this is particularly vital to discuss early on. Look at the situation carefully from both perspectives. It’s not uncommon or unreasonable to say couple sleepovers make you uncomfortable – just make sure you have an appropriate delivery. “IHATEYOURUGLYBOYFRIEND!” rarely ever works out nicely.
  • QUIET TIME – Go over your school and extracurricular schedules and come to an agreement about quiet time – this covers both studying and sleeping. There are few things more annoying than being woken up at 3am the morning of an exam by your roommate turning on the lights, slamming drawers, and mumbling about their missing mac and cheese. That being said, if you need to study for a rescheduled Saturday exam and your roommate has friends coming over, there’s always the library and student center if you need another quiet space to study. During finals week, re-visit the schedule and make changes as you both see fit. Remember, there’s no right or wrong answer – it’s what works for you and your roomie.

2. MAKE TIME FOR EACH OTHER – Whether your new roommate is a friend, acquaintance, or stranger, it’s important to set time aside for just the two of you.

  • COMMON GROUND – Get to know each other. What do you have in common? Come up with something that you both enjoy doing. This could be anything from working out, to watching The Walking Dead, to making music together. If you literally HATE everything that Brian loves, go to the dining hall and have a meal together once or twice a week. Bonding with your roommate can do wonders for your relationship, and it gives you both an open forum to discuss any issues you’ve had that week, or the opportunity to ask if it’s okay that your brother comes to stay next Friday night.

3. BE RESPECTFUL – You’d be amazed how big of a difference the “little things” make. Always keep in mind how it would feel to be in your roommate’s shoes, or how you would like to be treated if the situation were reversed.

  • BE TIDY – Being clean and being tidy are vastly different. That being said – don’t be a slob! Keep your things on your side of the room/closet and put them away when you’re finished. This will not only keep your roomie happy, it will also keep you organized. No more meltdowns because you lost your lucky headband. No sir.
  • TAKE GOOD CARE OF HIS/HER POSSESSIONS – If you borrow something of your roommate’s (after you’ve asked permission, of course), treat it as your own and be sure to promptly return it. If it’s clothing, wash it. If it’s a book, put it on his/her desk. If it’s cookies, replace them. If it’s a tissue… they probably don’t want it back. But buy a new box if you finish them off.
  • KEEP PRIVATE MATTERS PRIVATE – Undoubtedly, you will learn more information about your roommate than you ever wished to know. It is imperative that you keep these things to yourself in order to keep a healthy relationship with said roomie. Whether the matter is embarrassing, upsetting, or downright disturbing, they clearly do not want the world to know. Not everything is for you to judge or understand. If it gets back to your roommate that you spread the word about their chronic feet-sweat, the rest of the year probably isn’t going to be pretty. Not to mention, all of your dirty laundry is just minutes away from blasting off into the Twittersphere.
  • COMMUNICATE & COMPROMISE – If there’s one thing you take from this post, have it be this: When you have an issue with your roommate, go straight to him/her. As a non-confrontational person, I understand not wanting to rock the boat – but at what expense? If you have a problem with something that your roommate is doing, simply, but nicely, ask them to stop. If the situation is more complex than that, give some options that require you to meet in the middle. If she can’t sleep without the TV on, but you can’t sleep with it on – you have a number of choices. You could try ear plugs and a sleep mask, she could try sleeping with her laptop and headphones, or you could both put together a calming music playlist to fall asleep to. Or maybe you could put on the Golf Channel and bore yourself into a coma. Who knows? The real lesson here: there’s always a good compromise.

Make the most of your college experience by keeping a strong roommate relationship. Use these rules for a guideline and find what works for you and your roomie!

How do you and you roommate get along? Anything to add to the list? Let us know! Find even MORE tips here.

Written by Guest Blogger, Sandy Gomez

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College Care Packages

Whether you’re already back on campus or getting ready to head to college for the first time, sending (and receiving) care packages to friends at other schools can be a fun way to keep in touch. Not sure where to start? Here are some great snack ideas that your friends will definitely appreciate:

  • Bottled water
  • Candy bars
  • Gum
  • Canned soups
  • Cereal and oatmeal
  • Granola bars
  • Chips
  • Brownie mix
  • Rice crispy treats
  • Homemade cookies
  • Ramen noodles
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels or party mix
  • Protein bars
  • Tea or lemonade mix

For Health and Hygiene care package ideas click here!

Please let us know your favorite items you always ask for in your care package!

Written by Guest Blogger, Myles Marcus

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Five Ways to Revamp Your Style (For Free!)

We all know that it can get expensive buying makeup, going to the salon, etc so I found this fantastic article by the ever-so-lovely Lauren Conrad about how to switch up your style… without spending a cent! You can read the full post here but I’ll give you the quick overview of everything.

1. Change the part in your hair.

You can give yourself a whole new look just by parting your hair in different ways. Play around with it and see which way you like best! (throwback to the 90’s zig-zag part, anyone?)

2. Try bold lips or a cat eye.

Tweaking things in your makeup routine can make you feel refreshed and help you break out of a routine. Try rocking a red lip or some winged-out eyeliner to instantly feel fabulous and daring.

3. DIY face masks

You may not know, but you can make face masks with things in your kitchen! There are so many different kinds that are for all skin types and skin problems. Check out this list of recipes here.

4. Natural Teeth Whiteners

Drugstore whitening strips can do some damage to your wallet, so an at home recipe mixes baking soda and lemon juice together. It creates a paste that you brush onto teeth and let sit for a about a minute before cleaning off.

5. Fix Your Posture

Learn to stand up straight! It can really change your attitude and mood if you’re standing confidently. Perfect posture is something we should all be striving toward!

What are some of your tips to change up your style without spending cash?

Written by Guest Blogger, Chloe Leach

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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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