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3 Tips For Preparing To Head Back To College This Fall

summer

Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time for students everywhere to enjoy their summer break before heading back to school in the fall. However, for many college students, a summer break is more about figuring out your finances, preparing for classes, and catching up with friends and family before you’ve gone again for another few months.

Amid all of this busyness, it’s easy to let things slip your mind that really should be taken care of before you get caught up in your new semester of school. So to help ensure you’re as prepared as possible when the leaves start to change again, here are three tips for preparing to head back to college in the fall.

Make Necessary Medical Appointments

If you’re still on your parents’ medical insurance, the time you spend at home during the summer is the perfect chance for you to make any necessary medical appointments that you’ve been putting off. Because figuring out doctors and insurance when you’re in another city or state can be very difficult at times, the summer break is your chance to get everything taken care of in an effective way.

According to Kelsey Mulvey, a contributor to the Huffington Post, you should spend some time thinking about any medical questions you had over the last year at school and write them down to ask your doctor at your appointments. Additionally, make sure you get any prescription refills that you’ll need and are all caught up with your vaccination and a flu shot.

Get Your Car A Tune Up

For students that have their own car that they drive to and from campus each year, the break from school is a great time to get a tune-up that your car likely needs. With your car running smoothly, you’re less likely to get into a car accident as a result of something breaking down while you’re driving.

If you’re not sure where to start with this, Jerry S. Hyman and Lynn F. Jacobs, contributors to the U.S. News and World Report, recommend asking a mechanic to look at things like your tires and all your fluid levels.

Find Some Simple, Healthy Meal Recipes

When time is short during your semester, you might find yourself getting takeout or fast food on a regular basis. But not only can this be bad for your health, it can also cause your bank account to take a big hit.

To combat this, Chelsea Fagan, a contributor to Thought Catalog, suggests spending some time during the summer looking for simple, healthy meal recipes that you can make quickly and on the cheap. These can prove to be very beneficial all throughout your college years.

To help you be ready once your new school year starts, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you prepare for the fall during your summer break.

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Food & Travel

Paying Attention To Teen Driving in College

driving

Going to college may be one of the best experiences a person has in their entire life. Getting away from home is an enlightening experience. Being a master of your destiny as far as what classes you take, what friends you make, and where you go is a big deal. Unfortunately, there tends to be a little bit of a problem with teen driving specifically in college. If you’ve only been driving for a few years, and then suddenly you’re in a college town with lots of traffic, that can become a problem, especially if you aren’t careful with certain driving precautions.

Think of all the ways that paying attention to teen driving in college should be a priority. First of all, there is the cost. Owning and driving a car costs money, and college kids are notoriously broke. Secondly, there is a higher possibility of accidents with younger drivers with minimal driving experience. Third, teens in college, especially the first few years, are notorious for risky behavior while driving to try to prove themselves to the world. And lastly, there is a consistent problem with underage drinking in college, and that leads to alcohol-related driving accidents.

The Cost

The total cost of a car is not just the price tag coming off the lot. There are insurance costs to consider. There is the price of gasoline. There is the money that you have to put into maintenance and cleaning and upkeep. All of these things add up. If a teen in college thinks they’re going to pay a few thousand dollars and then that is the entire cost of their vehicular experience, they are in for a rude awakening.

Possible Accidents

On college campuses, especially with teens, there are greater possibilities for vehicle accidents on the roads. College campuses are usually high-density areas when it comes to traffic and people, and because folks are in constant motion going to and fro from classes, this makes for potential collisions between people and cars, or one type of vehicle and another if someone isn’t paying attention or is in a rush.

Risky Behavior

Teens are more likely to engage in risky behavior, especially when it comes to driving. They may think it’s funny to pack more people into a car than is legal. They might try to do something to impress their friends by going too fast in a car or going in an area that’s off limits. These kinds of risks can lead to injury and damage, and teens are often the culprits when it comes to mischievous driving.

Drinking and Driving

Finally, there is always going to be a consistent problem with teen drinking and driving, especially in the college atmosphere. Teens will have access to alcohol in ways that they didn’t before, and then they will decide that it’s okay to drive themselves home. This is a recipe for disaster and even possible jail time.

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Food & Travel

3 Tips for Making Healthy, Inexpensive Food Choices As A College Student

SONY DSC

While many college students can get away with living an unhealthy lifestyle for a little while, eventually these bad habits will catch up to you. So if you’re wanting to live a long, happy, and healthy life throughout college and beyond, you’ve got to begin creating a healthy lifestyle for yourself, including be cognizant of what you’re putting into your body.

Even if you’re a college student that’s struggling financially, you can still find ways to eat healthy and take care of your body. To show you how, here are three tips for making healthy, inexpensive food choices as a college student.

Know What To Spend Your Money On

When you have very limited amounts of money to spend on food, it’s important that you’re smart about the financial decisions you choose to make. While you may think that buying processed food with a lot of calories will help you get full and stat full, making your money worth this expense, nothing could be further from the truth. So rather than spending your money on food that’s not good for you, Natalie Stein, a contributor to LiveStrong.com, recommends buying foods like whole-grain cereal and snacks, peanut butter, fruits and vegetables, and foods high in protein. By eating foods like this, you’ll help you body look and feel better.

Learn How To Use Your Microwave

If you’re living in a dorm or you don’t have a lot of time to spend cooking meals, you’ve got to learn how to use what time and resources you do have to make healthy foods for yourself. In most dorm rooms or other living situations, you’ll at least have a microwave that you can use. If this is the case, Anisha Jhaveri, a contributor to Greatist.com, shares some of the best microwave or no-cook recipes for eating healthy, delicious foods that are simple and easy to make. By learning how to use your microwave to make everything from scrambled eggs to burrito bowls, you can have healthy meals ready to eat when you are at very little cost to yourself.

Stick With The Healthy Options At The Cafeteria

Many college students get put on a meal plan provided by their school. And while this can make getting food easier, it’s not always the healthiest options available. So if you’re struggling eating healthy with your meal plan, Thomas Frank, a contributor to NerdFitness.com, suggests sticking to things like grilled chicken, the salad bar, egg-based meals, and lots of veggies. You can likely find these things at any time in your cafeteria, so it’s up to you to make the smart choice about which food options to indulge in.

If you’re looking for ways to eat healthy and save money as a college student, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you do just that.

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Food & Travel

3 Tips for Staying Safe While Driving Home For The Holidays

holiday travel

If you’re planning to drive home to visit your family between semesters, the most important thing is that you’re able to get home and back to campus in one piece. Especially if you live in an area that has snowy or icy roads, getting from point A to point B can be a dangerous task. Luckily, if you’re prepared, you can increase your chances of being safe on the road and truly enjoying the holidays with your friends and family. To show you how, here are three tips for staying safe while driving home for the holidays.

Make Sure Your Car Is Prepared

To give yourself the best chance of staying safe on the road, it’s important that you’re driving in a car that can handle anything the winter roads can dish out. According to OSHA, preparing your car should include making sure your battery is working correctly, your tires have good tread, your windshield wipers are working well, and that your fluids are topped off and not frozen. If you can’t check these things yourself, consider swinging by a mechanic before you hit the road to head home for the holidays. The last thing you want is to have care trouble during bad winter weather.

Bring Emergency Items

While you’d like to think that nothing bad will happen to you while driving home in the winter, you should always try to be prepared for the worst case scenario. To do this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission recommends that you always keep certain emergency items in your vehicle. These things should include an ice scraper or snow shovel, sand or kitty litter, a flashlight or flares, jumper cables, blankets, and some emergency food and water. While these items will take up a bit of space in your car, you won’t regret having these emergency items if a real emergency presents itself.

Advice for Driving On Snow Or Ice

If you’ll be driving on the ice or snow on your way home from campus, it’s vital that you know how to adjust your driving to keep yourself and others safe. According to AAA, drivers should be extra careful when accelerating or decelerating on winter roads. Also, you should drive slower than the posted speeds and give other cars around you increased following distance. Keep in mind that it’s harder to start and stop when the roads are slick, so try not to stop completely or punch the gas if you don’t have to.

For those students planning to head home for the holidays, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you stay safe on the road and get to your destination and back in one piece.

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Food & Travel

3 Tips for Planning Your Next Spring Break Trip

spring_break

As a college student, there’s little that you look forward to more than spring break. After months of studying hard and stressing about school, work, and your social life, spring break comes around at the perfect time for you to unwind for a few days and prepare for the final push at the end of the school year. However, if you’re not careful, you could make some big personal or financial mistakes during spring break that could affect your life for years to come. So to help keep this from happening to you, here are three tips for planning your next spring break trip.

Pick The Right Plan For You

Just because spring break gives you the chance to get away from your routine doesn’t mean this is a necessity for you. And if you give in to the pressure to go somewhere tropical and party all week long, you may wind up feeling disappointed if this wasn’t actually your idea of a good time. For this reason, Lauren Blum, a contributor to USA Today, recommends not just going with the stereotypical spring break vacation if that’s not what you want. If you think you’d rather take a cruise or visit a historical site, or even just stay at home spending time with family, do that instead. While you might feel pressured by your peers or marketing campaigns to “take advantage” of this break, it’s a time that’s meant to help you relax from the stress of school, so spend it the way you want.

Be Smart About Your Finances

If you do choose to go somewhere or do something for your spring break, it’s important that you understand how this choice could affect your finances. According to Lisa Fickenscher, a contributor to the New York Post, a huge number of college kids spend the money they’ve taken out through student loans on their spring break splurges. And while there’s nothing illegal about spending your student loan money on things that aren’t directly school-related, this may not be the smartest financial choice. To be in the best position upon graduating, you’re going to want to have the least amount of debt possible. And if a portion of this debt was brought on because you wanted to spend a week in Cabo, that may not be a choice you’re thrilled about when you’re paying for it in the years after graduation.

Know How To Stay Safe

Spring break is a huge travel time all over the world. Knowing this, it follows that spring break is also a peak time to get taken advantage of as a tourist. To keep this from happening to you, contributors to the Huffington Post recommend doing your research before you go and taking extra precautions when you’re at your destination. This could include practicing safe drinking habits and informing your friends or relatives of where you are.

If you’re planning your next adventure over spring break, use the tips mentioned above to do so safely and practically.

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Food & Travel

How to Legally Protect Yourself In a Car Accident

Car Accident

You’re out on your own now. Finally away from Mom and Dad and the restraints of home. In college, you can make your own rules, your own schedule, and have pizza and beer for every meal if you want. However, when you took that step out into the world, you more than likely incurred some new responsibilities, as well. You now so your own grocery shopping, clean your own place, and pay your own bills, including your car payment and insurance. Why did I pick that out specifically? Every year, the amount of students, ages 18-25, in car accidents tend to be the largest group in this category. Here are a few things you can do that will keep you prepared should this debacle find you.

Keep Your Insurance Up to Date

It is now the law, in most states, that you must carry car insurance. When buying a new car, you are no longer even allowed to drive it off the lot without it. Unfortunately, several people, many young college students, allow the payments to lapse after the first month of coverage. Then, as it happens in life sometimes, you have a fender bender or worse. You find yourself with no coverage. Medical bills will pile up, you may not be able to replace the vehicle or repair it, you may find yourself responsible for the other party’s bills and, in most cases, no matter what happened, you will receive full legal blame, because you had no insurance. Sound appetizing?

Take Pictures!

In the awful event that you actually end up in an accident, after making sure that everyone is ok and that there is no impending danger from any vehicles involved, take pictures. Lots of them. This will allow you to prove to the insurance company, and to anyone else that would like to know, what damage was done or not done. Pictures can save you money on repairs and make good forensic evidence for proving fault, if necessary.

Have Legal Representation

In many cases, more than in prior years, both parties involved have insurance. Information is exchanged and life goes on. However, there are several thousands still driving without insurance. If you should be so lucky as to find one, it would serve you well to have legal representation on standby. These kinds of cases tend to take some time to sift out. Get a jump on things and be prepared.

Following these simple tips in your new lease on life could save you time you already don’t have between work and classes and could save you money that would be better spent on tuition or that guy/girl you met at the library while you were studying last night.

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Food & Travel

5 Destinations To Head To In Order To Appreciate College Lifestyles

destinations

When it comes to choosing your next travel destination, one target that might tickle your fancy is to go to places where you can get the feel of different types of college lifestyles. There are party lifestyles, academic lifestyles, peculiar lifestyles, and lifestyles of the relaxed and beautiful – all contained within the ideas of various college campuses.

Five destinations in particular that you could consider might include heading to San Diego, Ann Arbor, the Harvard campus, New Orleans, or the infamous Reed College in Oregon. Each of these places is known for something distinct, so even if you aren’t going there as a student, going as a spectator can be fascinating.

San Diego

San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S., and has several college campuses either in it or near it. Going to a resort in San Diego would be your first action, and from there you could check out the local undergraduate and community colleges, and then there are the places nearby in L.A. that are famous for their output of people into the film and recording industries.

Ann Arbor

If you’re a sports fan, particularly of college football, then visiting the University of Michigan campus and going to a college football game at the Big House is going to be an event of a lifetime. The energy there is spectacular, even regardless of who happens to be playing. The rest of the campus is pretty amazing as well, with all sort of mixing of academic and commercial buildings, leading to a really interesting experience just wandering around and people-watching.

Harvard

For those who want to know what it feels like to be surrounding by some of the most intelligent people on the planet, a trip to Harvard in Massachusetts might be the ticket. The rest of the northeast would be just a hop away as well, allowing you to check out sites as varied as Boston and New York City. Popping though the Harvard campus itself however, is quite a trip through the history of academia.

New Orleans

For partying, there are very few places like New Orleans, and that goes with its student life straight down the ticket. Just make sure that you’re going during a time of year that won’t be too much for you. There are certain seasons where it’s good to appreciate the vibe, and then other seasons where it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Reed College

Tucked away outside of the mainstream in Oregon is Reed College, made famous by some of the interlopers who have wandered through its campus over the years. Whereas the oddness of the campus itself isn’t quite for everyone, it will give you a glimpse into what seems to be a alternative reality for the students there.

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Food & Travel

Love The Outdoors? Hit These Hiking Trails This Summer

hiking

We all look forward to summer break, but too often when it arrives we find ourselves stuck in boring jobs or just sitting around wondering what to do. There’s no reason to bum around the house, though, when the weather is beautiful; instead, take advantage of your summers to travel a little and see the most beautiful scenery this country has to offer by going hiking.

Here are 4 hiking trails that make for a great summer excursion, with a friend or on your own. Just remember to hike safe – we’re not advising you take a weekend and try to tackle Everest, which has claimed the lives of more than a few experienced hikers. These are gentle hikes that even beginners can handle. Now pack that daypack and hit the trails!

Doane Valley Nature Trail

Paths that are labeled nature trails are typically quite gentle, and the Doane Valley Nature Trail in Palomar Mountain State Park is no exception. And while the park features a campground, you can cover a good chunk of trail in a day and make it home in time for dinner. We recommend bringing a hammock – they’re easy to carry while hiking – and enjoy a rest near Pauma Creek.

Arches National Park

For a particularly short hike paired with an incredible landscape, the two miles from Devils Garden Trail to Landscape Arch is a great little trek. You’ll get to see the world renowned sandstone arches that give the park its name. And if you’ve got a little extra time or want to check out some more of the arches up close, you can easily lengthen this hike into a five miler, still well within the confines of a short day hike.

Santa Anita Canyon

When the heat gets to be too much, you might not be inclined to head outdoors but give Santa Anita Canyon a chance. You’ll be surprised by how Sturtevant and Hermit Falls produce a natural air conditioner effect outside. The trail is shady and misty, so comfortable you’ll want to stay there all summer.

Mount Mansfield

If you want to be able to claim serious summer accomplishment, Vermont’s highest peak comes in as only about 7 miles. It isn’t the easiest day hike, but entirely manageable. If you take the Sunset Ridge Trail you’ll get to see Cantilever Rock, the structure of which is hard to believe – it can only be described as gravity defying. To understand what we mean, you’ll just have to see it for yourself.

The ambitious hiker who takes on all four of these trails, you’ll hit the east and west coast, plus some territory in between, but even if you don’t have the time or money to traverse the U.S. during summer break, we guarantee that there are plenty of great options near you as well. In particular, our national parks are home to an array of treasures, including day hikes that will take you along mountain, across streams, and may even offer some incredible nature sightings. Now that’s a well spent summer.

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Food & Travel

The College Guide To Eating Out: Some Food For Thought

It’s Thursday night and the dining hall options are terrible. You’re sick of eating campus center pizza. What you really want is a nice meal where everyone isn’t yelling or staring at their biology textbooks. It’s time for a night on the town.

But before you pick up your friends and head to the restaurant, you’ve got some work to do. Tuck in your shirt, polish your manners and check your budget – here’s what you need to know in order to have a great and affordable restaurant experience.

Consider Your Finances

While it shouldn’t be hard to get a nice meal at a reasonable price, college is the time where you need to master the art of budgeting. Even if your parents are still sending you money, you need to prioritize – textbooks, activity fees, the occasional new item of clothing – there are certain things that need to come first.

Taking all this into account, before you go out, take a look at your bank account and set a limit. Include the tip in this amount and then you can make your decision. Look online at menus to determine where you can afford to eat, and not just off the kid’s menu. Don’t choose a restaurant where you’ll be tempted to overspend. You’ll have a better experience if you choose a restaurant where you’ll have options at your budget level.

Be A Coupon Clipper

Coupons are a college student’s best friend and your wallet will thank you for looking for local deals. While it can be easiest to find coupons for chains, plenty of websites have coupons for local eateries.

Local restaurants will likely have higher quality food and offer a nicer experience than chain establishments, so coupons for restaurants are especially valuable. They may also offer entertainment like trivia nights or local bands. These are the nights you’ll tell stories about after you graduate – take advantage of coupons that let you experience the local scene.

Mind Your Manners

Dining hall eating can do terrible things for your manners. It’s easy to forget how loud you’re talking when everyone is competing to be heard or to start talking with your mouth full when you’re hurrying to get to the library between lunch and chemistry. None of this will do when eating in a restaurant.

Before you head out to eat with friends, tidy yourself up and scrounge up those social niceties your parents taught you. If you’re eating somewhere with cloth napkins, remember that they should be placed in your lap before your meal. Push in your chair when you get up and speak at a reasonable volume. Most of all, be respectful to the staff.

Learn The Rules Of Tipping

Tipping is an art form, and it’s one that you should work to master during your college years, in all appropriate contexts – haircuts, tattoos, taxis, and so forth. But restaurants are where you’ll leave tips most often, so focus on those rules first. The most important rule: Tipping when you eat out is mandatory.

With few exceptions, such as when eating out with a very large group, tips are rarely included in your bill. Also, if you’ve never worked as a waiter, know that staff members typically don’t make minimum wage – they rely on tips to make up the difference. This is the main reason why you should always tip.

It’s also important not to penalize waiters for food quality – they don’t control the speed your food comes out, whether your steak is undercooked, or much beyond taking the order and refilling your drinks. When your waiter does go out of their way to help you, however, like keeping track of five separate checks, make sure to tip extra. College kids often have a reputation for tipping poorly – break the mold by doing the right thing by your servers.

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Food & TravelLifestyle

Exploring the New College City

city

Housing, shopping areas, day and night entertainment options are but some of the amenities that might interest college students who relocate to a different city to attend a local college or university. Numerous large communities across the country develop student guides that are designed to assist current and prospective college residents in quickly finding a wealth of information about the new environment.

Housing

Many students live in facility dormitories while attending school. If accommodations reach capacity or if students prefer living off-campus, researching student housing for a particular city proves helpful. The knowledge provided by local realtors is typically helpful. Real estate agents often recommend specific neighborhoods located near educational institutions. Some provide listings on individual websites. They also may display options for apartments or houses rented and shared by students in each area.

Public Transportation

If students do not bring their own vehicles to school, they need to know what public transportation services are available in the city. Student guides offer a great deal of information about bus, rail and subway options that the location offers. Guides provide the location of routes throughout the metropolis along with schedules. This information might also prove helpful when deciding upon a particular neighborhood of residence. City guides additionally feature a map of designated bike routes for those who prefer cycling from one destination to another.

Shopping

When searching for a restaurant, or Macy’s department store, for example, Hoursmap is one of a variety of online tools that offer extensive data on millions of locations in numerous communities. Merely enter the name of the store, click on the venue’s URL and visit the website. Find a particular store by location, see the store hours and phone number. Read about current sales, or other information, before setting foot outside.

Dining

Use the guide to find an ethnic cuisine or a specific type of food. The guide then displays listings according to the desired search. Find the closest Italian restaurant or locations that serve pizza. Students can save time and money, as millions of facilities allow consumers to pre-order food online using a PC or mobile device. Websites also indicate whether they feature delivery or carry-out options.

Employment

City guides are also useful if looking for employment or internships related to public service occupations. Positions might be available in local school districts, law enforcement, healthcare or through utility companies. Listings may also include volunteer opportunities. Local newspapers and school bulletin boards are other options that also provide information concerning part-time or full-time employment.

Entertainment

If cultural events are of interest, guides feature a list of galleries, museums and theaters with links to each venue’s website. Find concerts, facility location, hours and ticket offers. Outdoor enthusiasts learn about historic tours provided in the community. Find the addresses of city and national parks or festival events held within the community. Discover biking and hiking trails in parks and recreation areas. Learn about popular local attractions. Sports fans find the listings for local college and professional teams representing different sports.

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