How to Last-Minute Prep for the End of the Year

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Woman posing after graduation

The end of the year is coming around, along with all the unavoidable stress. Even if you can put aside finals (which is a big if), the whole situation is already stressful. You’re probably moving out of your dorm or apartment for the summer, and even if you’re not, your friends probably are. How can you best handle all the non-school related stress that comes along with the end of the school year, so that you’re free to stress over finals?

Plan Out Your Living Situation

Hopefully where you’re going to be living is already figured out (if not, get on that ASAP), but you still need to make a plan for the specifics. There are some great sample moving plans online, but you might need to make your own if your situation is unique.

If you’re moving out of the dorms, where are you going to store all your things? Most college towns have storage facilities available, and the university itself probably has some sort of free storage space available. Ask your RA about it! Be aware, though, that space is likely limited, so compact your personal items as much as possible.

If you’re moving out of an apartment, then it gets a lot easier and more complicated at the same time. On one hand, you’ve got some free storage if you’re renting the apartment all through the summer. On the other hand, a lot of college kids only rent their apartments through the school year in order to save some extra money. So then you’ll have a lot of extra stuff that needs to be put somewhere safer than the side of the road.

Decide if it’s even possible to take your stuff back home with you. If not, you’ll have to fork over some cash for a storage unit or ask if you can fill your friends’ garages over the summer.

A lot of students spend the summer at their parents’. If you will be, establish some ground rules with them before you even cross the threshold. Summer can be a strange time because you might not have a lot of responsibilities to keep your busy. Discuss with your parents exactly what they expect from you beforehand before you get pumped for three months of vacation.

Plan Out Your Connections

During the school year, it’s easy to maintain a connection with your friends or significant other, since you all see each other nearly every day. You probably even live with some of them. However, once summer rolls around, it can introduce a different dynamic into your relationships.

Despite all the ways to keep connected long distance these days, young people are more worried about losing relationships than other generations. We have more nightmares about our significant other leaving us and it’s harder than ever to maintain meaningful friendships with the proliferation of social media.

Make sure to put a plan in place with the people you really care about staying close with. We all know life happens, but there’s nothing wrong with promising to exchange emails weekly or Skype usernames. This not only puts the framework in place for your friendship to flourish, but it lets the other person know that you’re interested in maintaining your relationship. If you can, plan a trip together!

These steps can help you stay connected over the summer. You don’t want to come back to school and not know where to pick it up again.

You’re supposed to be focusing on finals, but that can prove impossible when you’re worried about preparing for the end of the semester. Check off these big worries so that you can move on to acing your exams and nailing your presentations. Once your living situation is squared away and your relationships secure, you’ll be ready to knock both of them out of the park.

How to Find Your Dream Major

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graduation-advice-post-graduation

If you’re reaching the end of the year with continued anxiety over your chosen major, it might be time to reconsider. Changing your major can seem overwhelming, but you shouldn’t feel undue pressure over it. The truth is that you’re not out of time to change your mind, even if this is your last semester! You don’t want to live the rest of your life wondering, “What if….?”

However, there is a point to be made that everyone experiences some major doubt over the course of their college career. There might be a few rare people who never waiver, but for everyone else, picking a major isn’t an easy decision. If you’re really considering switching, ask yourself these questions before you do anything drastic (or neglect to do anything at all).

What Makes You Happy?

This might seem like the most obvious question out there, but there’s a reason it’s first. Don’t just consider what things you like — which TV shows, theme park rides, sports, bands, whatever. Those are great but think big picture.

Are you fulfilled by pushing yourself to complete the next puzzle? Consider careers in medicine, government, or even air traffic control.

Maybe you want to see new people and visit exciting places. The United States has 270 embassies that need Foreign Service staff. You could be a pilot or teach English abroad.

There are many things that might make you happy, but ultimately you can narrow it down to the next question.

How Can You Best Achieve That Happiness?

This is where reality kicks in. Maybe you like the idea of solving puzzles for a job, but you can’t imagine going to school for seven years to become a doctor. Maybe you do want to travel, but you can’t learn languages to save your life.

That’s okay; it doesn’t mean that you can’t do what makes you happy just because you lack a skill in one area. Instead, focus more on how you can work in a field that interests you. Take personality tests, visit your school’s career counselor, and research thoroughly. There are definitely dozens of jobs in the field that you’ve never heard of.

And if you really can’t find an existing way to do what you want to do, be an entrepreneur! They represent 10 percent of the workforce, and you’ll be in good company. Getting to set your own hours and be your own boss are pretty powerful perks. Not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur, but if you’re driven enough to get to this point, chances are that you do.

What Will Get Me There?

The last piece of the puzzle is to consider what path you have to take to get your happiness. Sometimes it’s pretty straightforward. Wanna be an engineer? Get an engineering degree. Wanna be a lawyer? Go pre-law, and get your J.D. afterward. In some cases, you might not love your new major, but remember that it’s getting you to a larger goal.

Sometimes, though, it’s less laid out for you. Most jobs have several related degrees. A lot will just care that you have the relevant experience or even just a minor in the field. Some jobs won’t care at all what your degree is in, just that you have one.

You can take some time to ask yourself all these questions, but don’t let them sit on the backburner for too long. Eventually, you’ll have to make a decision. When you do, look up what classes you need to take and get a plan in place. Years down the road, you’ll be glad that you took the time now.

How to Actually Fundraise in College

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You’re hopefully back in the swing of classes, although summer vacation could not come soon enough. But it’s far from time to check out. If you’re intent on building your resume, you’re working hard at your classes as well as some extracurricular activities. But one of the hardest parts of staying active in clubs and groups throughout college is the constant pressure to fundraise.

College students aren’t exactly known for their expendable income, since paying for school itself is often a struggle. So you and your group members might not have enough to donate yourselves. Instead, you’ll have to get other people to part with their money, so you can keep playing lacrosse, raising awareness about local policy, educating disadvantaged kids, or whatever else you think will help you later on. Question is, how can you best fundraise in a college town?

Know Your Target

Ask yourself: who is most likely to support your cause?

Students might have little cash to spare, but they also probably have more school spirit than anyone else nearby. If you want to target students, you’ll have to give them some sort of tangible return for their support. Some kids might be willing to part with a couple extra bucks for nothing but a fuzzy feeling, but most college kids will respond best to food. Popcorn, pizza, or anything that you can make it bulk cheap is a good way to go here.

However, if you’re looking to solicit community involvement as well, then you might need to up the stakes. Adults in the community might feel a certain sense of pride about the school, but they’re less impressed by dollar pizza slices than your average sophomore. Consider their political leanings; if you’ve got a lot of concerned environmentalists in your town, try a green fundraiser. If there is a strong arts presence, consider classing up your fundraising.

Quantity or Quality?

When considering your fundraising scheme, consider if you’re aiming for quantity or quality. Are you trying to get a lot of little donations or several larger ones? The latter will require more effort on your part, but the payout for your organization could be great.

Here are a few “quantity” based ideas:

  • Have a bake sale. Consider some easy recipes like pancakes, cookies, or hot cocoa!
  • Create a GoFundMe account. This is a great way to get people from even outside your community to donate, like faraway relatives, but don’t rely too heavily on this one option.
  • Ask your school if you can sell concessions at upcoming games.

And a few “quality” ideas as well:

  • Ask a local business for support. Even if you can’t secure a one-time donation, you might be able to convince them to donate a percentage of their sales as long as it’s a worthy cause. Lots of business do just that to help fundraise for pets, world hunger, and literacy programs. Your club can do that too!
  • Hold a dance! Social events are always appreciated on campuses. You can go for casual or formal, but college kids rarely get the chance to dress up, so you might have an easier time with formal.
  • Offer your services to the community. As a group, all go rake someone’s leaves, mow their lawns, fix their plumbing, whatever it may be. With so many of you, the job can get done in a few hours max.

These ideas will vary depending on your fundraising goals and how many people you have involved, but they’re a good place to start.

Consider Teaming Up

On college campuses, there are a lot of involved young people. Many are trying to make a significant change in their community, and there is no reason you both can’t help each other out.

If you’re part of a gender-divided sports team, consider asking the other side if they want to team up. If you’re an environmental group, there’s probably another one on campus that could use some money as well. Greek houses are always trying to fundraise, so make sure to pick their brains! They’ve got to be experts by now. Sometimes, two minds are better than one.

Of course, the returns on this strategy diminish the bigger the other group is. If they help out a lot, the other group might want more of the money than you’re prepared to give up. But you shouldn’t dismiss this option right away; give it some serious thought.

Fundraising is always a surprise, especially in a place as unpredictable as a college campus. You never know who is going to feel school-spirited or giving that day. The best you can do is approach this problem as a unit and commit to putting your all in it. Because if you’re not going to fight for your club, who is?

The Nine Things Every College Student Should Have On Their Desk

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Female student taking notes from a book at library.

All you need is a computer, right? Wrong! Unlike high school or living with your parents, office supplies do not magically appear. Living on your own means stocking up on essential desk items. To make your shopping list easier, we’ve come up with nine things every college student should have on their desk in order to get through the rest of the semester.

     1. Stapler and Staples

Here’s a lesson all freshman learn real fast — your teacher will not have a stapler on them, and they will expect you to turn in stapled copies of your twenty-page paper! Come prepared by having a stapler and extra staples at your deskside whenever you need it.

     2. Printer, Paper, and Ink

Sure, you could print at the library, but that’s going to cost you, and there’s no guarantee the library will be open when you need it. A small-sized printer can run you around $30 on sale and ink can be cheap if you subscribe to regular refills.

     3. Pen and Pencils

We love the convenience of a computer, but you have to have a pen on you at all times. There’s no telling when you’ll want to make a quick note or write a letter yourself. And pencils are essential for majors that require a lot of drafting or revisiting of work — such as musicians, artists, engineers, mathematicians, architects, etc.

4. Paperclips

Like staples, you need to keep your paper in order or they’ll become a mess on your desk. And who wants that? With paperclips or larger file clips, attach and go. No fuss, reusable, and cheap to buy — you have no excuses not to have a small supply.

Planner with post it notes and highlighters

5. Sticky Notes or Journals

Sticky notes are great for telling your roommate to pick up more milk or that they need to clean their side of the room. But when you really want to get something out, a journal is a must-have. Check out these school-themed journals if you really want to impress.

6. Stamps and Stationery

Sending a letter may seem so old fashioned, but thank yous written by hand are impressive and classy. Grab a stack of cards, like these vintage university ones, for when the occasion arises. And don’t forget Forever stamps from the post office.

7. Organizer

You’ve got the little things down, but what about where to put it all? An organizer for the tiny desk objects that get all over the place can be a lifesaver — especially when you’ve got five minutes till class starts and you can’t find your favorite pen.

desk lamp illuminating

8. Desk Lamp

Your desk may come with a lamp attachment already, but those industrial bulbs can lead to migraines or poor study habits. Find one that matches your style and has the right kind of light for your work. This dimmable, portable one is the perfect size and look for most college students’ needs.

9. Power Cord

While technically for under the desk, a safe power cord that can support your laptop, printer, chargers, and a lamp cannot be forgotten. Get one that has a surge protector in case of electricity going out.

If you have these nine items, and a few more that we may have missed, you’ll be ready to tackle those study sessions and ace all your exams!

Stop Being a Summer Zombie!

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We look forward to summer vacation all year, but about halfway through it can get stagnant. Yeah, you’re probably busy meeting all your goals, working a job, and padding that resume. Friends and family fit somewhere in there. But there are plenty of people who spend their summer vacation doing nothing, relishing the time when their biggest concern is determining what to watch on Netflix that day. Whichever camp you fall into, busy bee or couch potato, the fact remains that you’re probably not being as mentally stimulated as you are in the school year.

But during the summer? The brain drain is real. Zoning out every once in awhile is okay, but doing so for such an extended period of time makes you run the risk of becoming a zombie. Furthermore, engaging your mind frequently benefits your future career, as well as your grades, come fall.

So, how do you get the cogs in motion again without writing a term paper on your vacation? Well …

Keep Up on the News

Look, I know it’s complicated. Not only is it difficult to piece together everything happening around the world, but who’re you supposed to trust? That’s ultimately up to you, as everyone will have different political leanings, but try to assess every story’s validity. Read multiple different sources for every story, and you’ll eventually get a feel for which sources are reflecting a viewpoint and which ones are truly reporting the news.

Current events are a great way to keep your gears moving, and you’ll definitely impress your political science professors come fall.

Don’t Neglect Math!

Math is one of, if not the, most hated subjects out there, but it’s generally required at most universities for a good number of majors. If you’ve finished your mathematics requirements, maybe you can ignore this one, but math can be very useful for everyone, no matter your career field.

Understanding statistics helps you understand how the world actually works; knowing how to convert units helps with baking or building; realizing the true effect of percentages can help you understand how student loan interest affects your life after college. Math doesn’t come easy to everyone, but thinking about how math actually affects your life might help you care a little more. Consider any math problem, no matter how simple, like a puzzle to spur your brain on.  If it’s something very important, like your monthly budget or your savings, there’s no shame in using a calculator, but try to do it in your head first.

Have Good Discussions

Just because you don’t have to write a paper on the latest book you read doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t analyze it. Sometimes having a soundboard can reveal illogical assumptions you made — or even lead you to question your original position. Even if books aren’t your thing, you can have valuable discussions about anything: current events, a TV show, trends you notice in your own friend group, football, whatever. Just try to go a little bit below the surface, and it might spur interest in something you never thought about before.

Furthermore, keeping up-to-date on a variety of issues will help you have better conversations. If you’re well-informed on most topics, most people will probably want to talk to you. And who doesn’t want to be known as the smart one?

Organize!

Having a clean space is not just to put your mom at ease. It has actual physical and mental benefits too. It’ll improve your productivity, letting you focus easier instead of slumping back into bed. Being messy might not seem like a big deal to you, but when you consider that this will help you live an all-around healthier life, it’s really a no-brainer.

So whether you need to find space for your clothes or just keep them off the floor, clean your room! Just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you have to fulfill all the stereotypes.

Keeping mentally sharp is a task that you’ll have for the rest of your life. Eventually, you’ll finish school, and you’ll have to do it completely on your own. Right now, you can rely on classes to expose you to new ideas, but don’t slack off during summer vacation just because you can! As your classmates shake off summer stupidity after returning to class, you’ll wow your professors and feel better than ever.

My Dorm Room is Already a Disaster!?!

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Cleaning Messy Dorm Room

I know, I know.  School just started.  How can we possibly already be talking about decluttering?  In one way, you’re right.   You have only had a month max to mess up your dorm room.  It can’t be that messy, right?

Well, that depends! We’ve all got different styles of housekeeping. Some of us need to fold laundry as soon as we complete it, and others want to leave it in the hamper until it’s all dirty again. Despite the small square footage of your dorm room, plenty cannot stand anything on the floor. Personally, my freshman roommate and I tried to find out how many toilet paper rolls we could leave in the bathroom before someone else picked it up.  So, by the end of my first month, I definitely should have cleaned out my room.

(I didn’t.)

You might think you’re only a month into school, but it’ll all snowball from here.  Syllabus week is a distant memory at this point, and the realities of your coursework are finally hitting home.  You might’ve been acing quizzes without studying before, but give it a few more weeks.  Soon, you’ll be asking the library what time they close.  (“Midnight? It’s not open 24 hours!?”) And when those dreadful weeks come around, you won’t have time to deal with the colossal mountains of energy drinks and old assignments.

The truth is, you should get a head start and clean up now.  Dirty dorms come with their unique health risks, and it’s easier if you keep up with it continuously instead of all at once. However, when cleaning out your room this early in the year, there are some special guidelines you should consider.

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Access How Long It’ll Take

Now, you’ve likely never cleaned your room before, so you can’t be 100% sure how long it’s going to take you.  Make a list of all the things that need to be done, and think about how long it took you to do those chores at home.  Your parents’ house is probably bigger than your dorm room, so it won’t take as much time, but it can give you a good idea.  Thinking about chores back home can also help you remember what you might be forgetting.  You might not even consider cleaning the sink until you remember your old weekly duties.

Block off this time in your schedule specifically for cleaning, whenever you happen to have the free time. It’s tempting to go out with your friends on the weekends, but even just an hour can make a world of difference.  However, you might need to invest more than just an hour. Be honest when accessing your room.  You should be able to rope in your roommate in helping you out- by this point, you should’ve developed a cleaning schedule with them.   For better or worse, my dorm room was often the hangout spot for all my friends.  This meant we had more mess, but I was also able to guilt trip others into helping out.  If you get a good number of people together, this should reduce your cleaning time significantly!

Be Honest

You likely have a couple of items that you purchased for the upcoming year, only to realize that you’ll never use them.  Maybe you bought a shower caddy, only to realize that you have a private shower.  Or maybe you brought up a can of bright orange paint to cover your walls, only to find out that your dorm doesn’t allow that.  Whatever the case, be honest with what you’ll use for the year (it’s generally a good idea to keep old assignments until the end of the semester).  You have a little better idea of what to expect now, so there’s no reason that you should let those items clog up an already-cramped space.

So, you have three choices.

  1. You can give these junk items to someone else, either for a price or for free.  Think: do other dorms have communal showers?  Or do you have any friends in apartments who can paint? Maybe these items will be easy to get rid of if you find the right market.
  2. You can send it home, for your parents to do whatever with it. Keep it in your old bedroom, use it themselves, or hold onto for younger siblings.
  3. You can throw it away.  This is kind of a waste, and there are somethings that you can’t just throw away for environmental reasons, so it’s better to go with one of the other two options.

Unless it’s something weather-related, if you haven’t used it in the first month, you probably aren’t going to.  The exception is obviously items for future projects, but you should put those somewhere out of the way until the appropriate time.  You might have been on your dorm’s Holiday Committee, but don’t keep your miniature Christmas tree in the middle of the room until December.

Evaluate Problems and Establish Prevention

Do you come home late, stick Easy Mac in the microwave, only to fall asleep and find a cheese-charred mess? Do you have nowhere to put past assignments? Do you allow your roommate’s mess to dominate the space?

You have a very limited square footage, so every item placement should be mindful. If you realize that you don’t have enough room in your closet, remedy the situation with some space-saving hangers.  Get a second trash can if you’re having a lot of parties.  Hang up a monthly calendar instead of having an ever-missing planner.  A messy room after only a month is a symptom of a larger problem, and you need to address it now before you can’t find your take-home test, and it’s 60% of your grade, but it doesn’t matter anyway because you’ve contracted a staph infection from your filthy shower, so you’re begging your roommate to take you to the hospital, but she can’t find her car keys anywhere.

Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

Look, if you’re like me, it’s just not in your nature to be super clean.  A little mess doesn’t bother you.  However, a lot of mess bothers everyone, and it’s a lot easier to prevent a mess than to clean one up. And believe me, when it does come time to move out, you’ll be thankful that you kept the dorm clean.

Dorm Room Decorating – Creating a Balance Between Budget & Style

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Dorm Room Decorating

Dorm Room Decorating – Creating a Balance Between Budget & Style

Making the transition from your bedroom to your dorm room is a big deal. That’s why it’s important to pick out a style that you like at an affordable price. No one knows more about this topic than College Dorm Designer Stephanie McDade. Stephanie made an appearance on Lifetime TV’s The Balancing Act, where she shared helpful tips about shopping for dorm room necessities.

This video is also shared in the OCM Press Room, a new feature found on our websitere you’ll find the latest news, videos and press releases that help convey what our brand is all about.

Black Hampton Plaid

Bedding in Black Hampton Plaid with Silver Armored Trunk

Leilani Kiwi

Leilani Comforter with Kiwi Sheet Set and Shag Carpet

A Home Away from Home

An integral part of college life, residence halls are where students spend a great deal of their time studying, socializing, and relaxing. Dorms are like a second home for students and should be decorated as such. Whether you’re an incoming freshman or transfer student, it’s crucial that you pick the right bedding, trunk, accessories, and whatever else you may need to create a comfortable living environment.

Sheet Set

Assorted Sheet Sets

The Centerpiece

In every dorm you will find a plain mattress. With bedding from OCM, you can turn that plain mattress into a comfortable and stylish bed. Every year, Stephanie works with designers from New York to come up with the latest and greatest trends, such as the kaleidoscope pattern. Printed on soft, channel stitched comforters, these patterns will make the centerpiece of your room pop! Add in a few accent pillows and a throw blanket for extra comfort and style!

Trunks

Assorted Rhino, Armored and Cube Storage Trunks

Storage

As you know, staying organized is a constant battle. That’s why we offer a number of products to keep your dorm clutter-free. Stephanie mentions one of these products, but let’s take closer look. The storage chest, more commonly known as a storage trunk, is a great place to keep shoes and other items out of the way. Plus, it doubles as a table! A flat surface is a valuable piece of real-estate in the close quarters of a dorm.

The storage chest is just one of the many dorm room organization products we offer. Take for example our line of storage bins or our under the bed collection. We also have desk organizers and closet storage products. All of these products will keep you organized and allow you to make the most of your space!

Wardrobe Trunk

Armored Urban Wardrobe Storage Trunk

Décor

So you’ve made the big transition from your bedroom to your dorm room, but you still feel like something’s missing. Adding a personal touch to your dorm will make you feel right at home. At OCM, we have a huge collection of wall art that varies from original posters to beautifully designed tapestries. If you’re looking to add something functional, check out our accent rugs and pillows! As Stephanie pointed out, a soft rug on a wooden floor makes all the difference on those brisk mornings!

Value Pak

OCM Value Pak

Shopping Made Simple

With so many great products and designs, it may be hard to pick out each item individually. Stephanie has a quick fix for that: Value Paks. Simply put, a Value Pak is a product bundle that saves you money and time otherwise spent coordinating separates, while meeting your dorm room needs. These Paks range in size and price, but consistently provide students with quality bedding, towels, and other bath and personal supplies. With over 50 style combinations to choose from, you are sure to find a Value Pak that works for you!

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Catalina Coral Sheet Set and Kaleidoscope Comforter

Find a Balance

Whether you’re looking to deck out your room or go with a basic look, it’s all about finding a balance between style and price. At OCM, you can mix and match products or keep things simple by choosing from one of our Value Paks.  With so many great styles and affordable products, you’ll be able to find what you need!

How to Minimize Clutter in Your First College Apartment

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How to Minimize Clutter in Your First College Apartment

Small spaces can mean big time mess and clutter problems, especially if this is your first time living outside your home or dorm rooms. However, you first apartment doesn’t have to be a scene from Hoarders or a museum of knickknacks and trash. By learning how to minimize clutter in your first apartment, you can embrace minimalism and learn to love the clean and tidy.

How to Minimize Clutter in Your First Apartment

Step 1: Ban Shopping

How do you stop clutter? You stop bringing in stuff. Cut yourself off for a short period of time (a month or so). Promise yourself you’re only going to buy the essentials, and stick to it. Set up a friend to keep you honest, delete all of your bookmarks for your favorite stores and Facebook sales sites, or even keep a blog documenting the minimizing process. Limiting temptations will make this step so much easier.

Step 2: Purge It All

The new thought to becoming a clutterless person is to only keep items that make you happy. Room by room, space by space, go through your items and think about the last time you used it. Was it recent? Is it associated with happy memories? Is it still functional or essential? Is it one of a kind? If the answer to most of these questions is yes, it should stay. If you get even one no answer, sell, donate, or throw it out.

Step 3: Create Space

Apartments are tricky because many landlords have restrictions on what you can and cannot do. That’s why you’ll have to get creative. Invest in under the bed storage systems and closet organizers. If possible, hang pictures instead of leaving them out, and maximize storage by using wall shelves and hooks.

Step 4: Create Even More Functional Space

When deciding on storage, think of how you plan on using them. If you’re not particularly organized or are prone to losing things, go for see-through or opaque bins with stickers that designate what is inside. If you’re the more lazy type who loves to drop everything at the door, pick storage options that are right there when you walk in such as mail organizers and shoe racks.

Step 5: Practice for a Month

Researchers debate on how long it takes for a new habit to become just part of your daily life, but most would say it is between twenty and seventy days. During those first few months, keep checklists out that help your clutter organization stay on track (such as picking up dishes before going to bed or taking out the trash every two days). Reward yourself when you accomplish major milestones or get through a certain period of clutter-free time.

Step 6: Get Your Roommates on Board

Any clutter-free ambitions won’t work if your roommates are not in it with you. While this means they will have to pitch in and commit, it doesn’t mean they have to go gung-ho minimalist. Instead, talk to them about any issues you may have with the extra “stuff” laying around and offer to help sort through their space if their interested. The trick is to be supportive and energetic without being condescending or bossy. When each and every roommate is in it, minimizing clutter can be just part of your daily routines.

 

Saving Space in the Cloud

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Keeping Files Organized in Cloud

Over the course of four years, your cloud storage will get a massive workout! From presentations to large final papers and projects, you’re going to use a lot of storage to keep your items safe and organized. Knowing how to save space and manage your files can ensure that you have what you need on hand at all times, even long after you graduate.

How to Save Space in the Cloud

What is “The Cloud?”

Imagine a way where you would never lose an important document, email, project, resume, etc. Imagine that this place was impenetrable — that even a broken computer wouldn’t keep you from getting the information you need. How awesome would that be?

That place exists, and it’s commonly referred to as “the cloud.” While there are many different versions out there, we trust our most precious documents (you know, the papers you worked hours on ends to finish) with OCM’s Campus Backup. It’s a program designed with college students in mind.

All you do is install the program on your computer and then let it do its thing. As long as your computer is running and hooked up to the internet, it will back up your files and store them somewhere safe. You can then access these files wherever you go as long as you have the internet (even when volunteering in a third world country!). There’s even an app that lets you manage it via your phone!

How to Maximize Your Cloud Storage

While your cloud is running in the background, you’ll want to be sure you know where all of those big and important files are saved. After all, there is nothing worse than getting to class and trying to remember which file you saved that presentation in.

To avoid this mess, start by mapping out your life in files. We recommend having several “master” files such as college, work, personal, etc.. These master files should cover your main living situations. College would cover anything to with classes and activities. Work would hold any document you may need during your job hunt. And personal would be comprised of bank documents, copies of your admissions applications, scholarship documents, and/or emails from family members.

From there, add additional, connected files under the master file. For your college master folder, we recommend breaking it down based on year (freshman, senior) and then again based on class name or activity. For example, a folder map would look like “College” → “Junior Year 2016” → “STAT 1407” → “Final Exam Study Guides.”

You should put the same consideration into naming your document so that it clearly expresses what it is. We often let the program give it a name based on the first few words (or worse, call it “document!”). Don’t be afraid to get very specific in naming. A file can be named “Final Project Paper on the History and Analysis of Abraham Lincoln’s Speeches.”

Finally, you will want to keep your cloud cleaned up and organized. Every few months, take some time to go through your cloud storage and check how much data you have left to use. Go through each file and delete any duplicated files (such as early drafts or revisions). It’ll make it easier for you to retrieve the items later on when everything is safe, sound, and easy to find!

9 New Year’s Eve Safety Tips

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Happy New Year! It’s time to live up the last moment of this year and ring in the next! But before you go out and watch that ball drop, be sure you know these dos and don’ts to have a safe New Year’s Eve.

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9. Plan Out Your Transportation

One of the most dangerous things that can happen to you this New Years is to not have a ride to your event. Or, even worse, after everything is done, not having a way to get home. Before you leave the house, load up your phone with the numbers of a trusted cab company or download a map of the city in case you need to catch a bus.

8. Tell Someone in Advance

Checking in with mom and dad can be a hassle, but they need to know where you were going and who you were going with if something were to happen. Don’t be too proud. Instead, share with a friend or family member your plans and another number to reach you in case of an emergency.

7. Have a Clear Plan

Don’t try to wing it on New Year’s Eve. With so many people out and about, your options are endless, which means there is no excuse on wandering the streets or dorms looking for the best party. Have a set plan of where you will be and when so you can avoid getting lost or taking a wrong turn to a bad event.

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6. Carry an Extra Charger

Your phone is a lifesaver, and it is important that on holidays like New Years that your phone is charged and ready to be used at any time. Purchase a portable charger or throw a wall or car charger in your purse. You’ll be thankful for it after you take all those awesome NYE selfies.

5. Hide Your Money Well

If you do plan on going out to a large event, beware of pickpocketers. They are so good that they can get into your shut and zipped purse without you even knowing! Instead of stashing away all your money in your wallet, tuck a few dollars or a debit card under your shirt or do what some runners do and stick some money into your shoe. They’ll never know to look there!

4. Comfort Over Fashion

Those high heels are awesome, but can you really walk in them (especially if you needed to because of an emergency)? Make your own fashion statement by saying no to uncomfortable outfits that are hard to walk or stand in. Instead, hit the shopping mall for a look that allows you to move around freely.

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3. Know Your Limits

Only you can say “no” to a situation. Before you go out, have a heart to heart with yourself and set some firm limits. That way, if you get to your end, you’ll already be resolved to saying no. And if you’re comfortable, tell your friends about them too so they know not to pressure you or ask you to do more than you’re willing to.

2. Stick to Familiar

NYE is great for a public event or hitting up a house party. But make sure you know what you’re doing before you go too out of the box. Go out with friends you trust, to places you know how to get out of, and to parties you know are safe and well-contained. If you’re feeling uneasy, find an alternative event instead.

1. Bring a Buddy

Who do you plan to smooch at NYE? Going solo on NYE is not a safe idea. Instead, take a friend that you know well and stick to their side as much as possible. If you do get lost or separated before the ball drops, have a meet up place or a couple of contact points.

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