Celebrating St. Patricks Day on Campus

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With March finally here, it’s time to start thinking about how we’re going to celebrate one of our all-time favorite holidays – St. Patrick’s Day.  Wearing green, pretending to be Irish, hanging out with friends – what’s not to like?

Never fear – there are plenty of things that you can totally do on-campus that will help you get into the spirit of the holiday without dipping into actual spirits.  Here are our top three activities for St. Patties.

DECK OUT YOUR DORM ROOM

Really want to bring out the luck of the Irish?  Get decorating.  Hit up your local craft or big-box retailer like Target or Walmart to get your hands on the perfect decorations to turn your room into a St. Patrick’s Day paradise.  If you’re on a budget, you can always try stores like Five Below or Dollar Tree to get cheap decorations that will still look totally amazing!

If you want to take it to the next level, try chatting with your RA about decorating the hallway, too.  This is a great way to socialize with your dorm mates in a low-pressure and super fun way (and is also a great distraction from the stress of classes)!  Always be sure to get permission from the RA or building supervisor before you do start decorating the hallways, just in case there are any fire codes or reasons you could get in trouble for – nobody wants that!

GET COOKING

Are you a gifted chef or at least wish you were one?  Try whipping up a delicious Irish-inspired meal with your favorite traditional or non-traditional foods for you, your roommates, and all of your friends.

Going authentic? Try getting some corned beef from the local grocery store and cooking it up.  Add some boiled cabbage to the mix and some simple potatoes and you’re totally set.  Serve it up to all of your friends and see who will take the plunge and give it a try.

Want something you know everyone will like?  Try adding some green food dye to some of your go-to snacks.  Whether it’s mac-and-cheese, eggs, or pancakes, this is a super easy way to get into the spirit of the holiday without risking making something out of the ordinary that one of your friends (or you!) may end up hating.

CHECK YOUR STUDENT CENTER FOR ON-CAMPUS EVENTS

Many schools do tend to have holiday-themed events for students to attend on-campus, whether it’s a parade, a costume contest, a special meal and more.  Try going to your student center to see if they have any events posted or are planning anything exciting for St. Patrick’s Day. 

If they unfortunately don’t have anything planned just yet, you totally have the opportunity to help them get something going, too!  This is a great way to do something unexpected and fun with your friends on-campus without having to bring drinking into the picture.

Top Three Bedroom Color Trends for 2019

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Now that 2019 is in full swing and you’re getting settled back into your classes and the typical day-to-day things, perhaps you’ve noticed a little something creeping up in the back of your mind – you’re totally sick of what your room looks like.  Don’t worry – this happens to the best of us when we hit a new year and we start to get sick of the same-old-same-old, especially when it comes to what we see each and every day.

So how do you go about changing up your room without spending a fortune (since you’re back on a budget for school, anyway)?  The easiest way is to add a fresh coat of paint to your walls!  By adding a new color to your room, it will feel refreshed and entirely new, almost like you’ve never lived in it before.

Thinking of painting your room for the New Year?  Here are the three top bedroom color trends for 2019 to help get you inspired to get going on this super easy DIY project.

 

FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO KEEP IT SIMPLE – RICH HAZELNUT

If you’re more of a no-nonsense kind of person who wants a simple update to the color of your room, opting for a warm hue such as Rich Hazelnut is the perfect choice for you.  Not only does this color rarely go out of style, but also it is considered to be an easy-to-match neutral.

This new neutral color requires a minimal update to the rest of your décor and is also a great way to increase the amount of light your room captures, making it appear larger and brighter.  Because of the warm undertones, Rich Hazelnut adds a soothing aspect to your room as well, keeping you comfortable and calm.

FOR THOSE WHO WANT A TOUCH OF OPULENCE – MUSTARD YELLOW

Really want to switch up your room color and make it feel more luxe and opulent?  Mustard Yellow might just be the right option for you.  Don’t let the name scare you away – this modern iteration of classic gold is often more muted than its food counterpart.

This bold and bright color is a great way to add unexpected light and brightness to your room without being overwhelming or causing you to feel stressed.  Mustard Yellow also matches well with other rich colors, such as deep burgundy and plum, allowing you to switch up your décor with ease.

FOR THOSE WHO WANT A PERSONAL OASIS – PASTEL BLUE

Searching for a way to transform your room into a personal hideaway?  The answer is simple – add a little pastel blue to your walls!  This soothing color is calming in every way and is subtle enough to not overwhelm your other décor.

Cool pastel blues are perfect for making your room look and feel larger than it is, reflecting light and creating a light and airy yet expansive environment.  This color also matches well with a wide variety of other hues, meaning that it won’t be hard to pick accent colors for your room and that it won’t clash with the other décor.

2019’s Top Secondhand and Thrift Stores for Those Statement Pieces

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Now that the New Year is in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about a few things.  First, classes are probably starting up again soon and you should probably be getting everything in order for that ASAP.  Second, is your 2019 dorm room and wardrobe up to par?  After all, New Year, new you, right?

 

But updating your wardrobe or your dorm room can quickly become pretty costly if you’re not careful.  How can you update everything without blowing your new semester’s budget completely out of the water?  By hitting up your local thrift or secondhand store, of course!

 

If you’re on a budget or looking for something a little more off the wall for your wardrobe or dorm room, try hitting up a secondhand or thrift store to find the statement pieces you’ve been missing in your life.  Here are our favorite places to shop when we want a statement piece for a price we can actually afford.

 

STOP #1 – THE SALVATION ARMY

OUR FAVORITE PLACE FOR: affordable statement furniture

 

First up on our list is the mother of all thrift and secondhand stores – the Salvation Army.  These locations typically carry both furniture and clothing, and lots of it!  Do some online research and find the largest location near you to hit up for your statement-piece shopping.  With a larger selection of items available, you’ll be more likely to find what you’re after!

 

STOP #2 – GOODWILL

OUR FAVORITE PLACE FOR: statement clothing items

Another one of the classics, Goodwill is always a stop on our list.  From clothing to books, furniture to toys, this place has it all.  And the best part?  The discount days!  Head in-store on certain days during the week to score an additional 25 – 50% off a selection of items.  Who knows – you may be able to snag that killer statement 80’s windbreaker for next to nothing if you play your cards right!

 

STOP #3 – SAVERS

OUR FAVORITE PLACE FOR: statement clothes and home decorations

If you’re lucky enough to have a Savers in your hometown or near your college, make sure to take some time to take a trip here.  While most of the items Savers has in-store are clothes, they do have a pretty decent selection of small furniture pieces tucked in the back, too!

 

STOP #4 – YOUR LOCAL MOM AND POP STORE

OUR FAVORITE PLACE FOR:  statement vintage pieces

Nothing beats shopping local.  Most towns and cities have at least one locally owned thrift, secondhand, or vintage store that you can hit up to find statement clothing and furniture.  Be sure to do your research online before you head out and see what other people are saying about the store before you take the plunge.  Some stores can get very pricey very quickly if you’re not careful!

What to do With Your Diploma After Graduation

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So you’ve finally done it – you’ve graduated!  You turned in your last paper, took your last exam, sold off your last textbook.  You finally did it!  You have your diploma in hand and you’re ready to take on the world.

But – have you thought about what you’re going to do with your diploma now that you finally have it?  Rather than throwing it in a drawer somewhere or boxing it away in your attic, here are some of our favorite ways to display your diploma after graduation.

BEFORE YOU START – GET IT PROFESSIONALLY FRAMED

This is more a step one than anything else – always get your diploma framed!  This is the best way to preserve its appearance and keep it looking just as crisp and fresh as the day you received it for many, many years to come

If you’re not sure where to start looking for the perfect diploma frame, try checking out the collections at OCM.  Whether you’re looking for a classic wooden frame or a larger one with an artistic image of your school, OCM will have exactly what you’re looking for in their amazing selection.

DISPLAY IT IN YOUR OFFICE

Hanging your diploma in your office is always a great way to show off your accomplishments and keep yourself focused and dedicated.  By keeping it on display where you spend the majority of your time, you’ll be constantly reminded of the countless hours you put in to achieve that goal and the many hardships you had to endure to reach your eventual success.

Before you decide to display your diploma at work, always make sure that it is acceptable to do so.  After all, you don’t want to get written up for hammering a nail into a wall to hang it up when it could have been avoided by resting a frame on your desk!

HANG IT ON THE WALL AT HOME

Don’t want to hang your diploma at the office?  Why not display it proudly at home?  Whether you’re adding it to the wall in your home office or resting it on the side table in your living room, hanging your diploma at home is a great way to keep your recent educational accomplishments at the front of your mind and remind yourself of how far you’ve come.

Be sure to pick the perfect frame to match the rest of your décor at home – if you’re not sure where to start, try OCM!  OCM has a fantastic selection of frames in a variety of styles, woods, and finishes, some even with included artwork of your school!

SEND IT HOME TO YOUR FAMILY

If you’re not the type to boast about your accomplishments or you simply are afraid that you’ll misplace it, you can always send your diploma home to your parents or family!  While you may not want to hang it on the wall for all to see, they may want to in their home as an ode to your educational accomplishments.

Before you send it home, be sure to pick out the perfect frame for it and make sure it is safely added.  Or, better yet, have your parents pick out a frame from the stylish OCM collections that match their décor and have it safely shipped direct to their door!

 

Receiving your college diploma is one of the greatest achievements in your life. In order to protect this very expensive piece of paper, you should strongly consider getting it framed! Many choose to hang their diploma, but if you choose otherwise, you still have several options!

How to Deal With Seasonal Depression

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We’re nearing the close of the first month in January 2019, but it feels like it’s the 1,000th month of winter, right?  Between the cold temperatures, frigid wind, and general darkness outside. It’s hard to keep your spirits up this far into the winter season.

One of the worst parts about winter is absolutely the seasonal depression that can sometimes come with it.  Known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this condition is common in the winter and can affect anyone.  Although the true cause o this condition is not entirely known, it has been attributed to the change in weather and shorter days that happen during the winter season.

With the lack of sunlight and the general misery of the weather, it can be hard to keep your spirits up.  Dealing with seasonal depression can be a challenge if you’re new to the game or just not sure how to handle it.  Never fear – here are our top tips for dealing with seasonal depression this winter.

 

TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR

The hardest part about seasonal depression is asking for help.  Your doctor is a fantastic resource for knowledge on how to deal with this condition as well as support for what you are feeling.  Make sure that you talk to them before taking on an action plan for treating this condition – they will be able to point you in the right direction.

 

INVEST IN LIGHT THERAPY

One of the most effective treatments for seasonal depression is the use of a light therapy box.  This contraption is designed to give off light that mimics natural sunlight, stimulating your body’s circadian rhythm and suppressing the release of melatonin.  It is often prescribed by a doctor and used for 30 minutes a day, primarily in the mornings, to simulate waking up to pure sunshine.

 

TRY OUT DAWN THERAPY

Similar to light therapy, dawn therapy uses natural light to help stimulate your body’s circadian rhythm, waking you up gently in the mornings with increasing levels of light rather than through the use of an alarm clock.  It helps to reset your mind, making you consciously and unconsciously aware that it is morning.

 

GET OUTSIDE

One of the best ways to help treat your SAD?  Experiencing the great outdoors!  In the winter months, we tend to hole up indoors in the library or our dorm rooms, keeping cozy and warm.  However, with seasonal depression, it is best to get outdoors as much as possible during the day to experience the sunlight.  This can help reset your body and your mind to a sense of normalcy.

 

ADD SOME VITAMIN D TO YOUR ROUTINE

One of the biggest deficits your body experiences in the winter is the lack of Vitamin D due to the lack of sunlight.  By adding a simple supplement to your everyday routine, you can help your body to feel better naturally.  Be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin taking a Vitamin D supplement, too – they may have an alternative suggestion or be able to prescribe a higher strength option to help you really get back to your best.

The Pros and Cons of Staying Near Your College Town

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So, graduation is quickly coming up and you’re deciding what to do next.  Should you stay local and try to snag a job on or near campus or uproot and go somewhere entirely new?  It’s a tough choice to make, especially right after spending four years or so in the same place. While staying near your college may seem like a great idea to keep in touch with friends and stay in your “safe-zone” of familiar sights and events, it can be refreshing to try something totally new.

If you’re considering both options, here are a few pros and cons to help you make your final decision on whether to stay or move away from your college town after graduation.

PRO  – YOU ALREADY KNOW THE AREA

One of the biggest pros of staying in your college town is that you already are super familiar with the area.  You know where to shop for groceries, what parts of town to avoid after dark, and where the best place is to get coffee with friends.  After spending four or more years in the same area, you totally know the ins and outs of the town and don’t really have to worry about adapting.

CON – YOU ALREADY KNOW THE AREA

On the other hand, one of the most exciting things about graduating and moving on to the next stage of your life is the opportunity to go to new places and experience new things.  If you’re stuck in the same place, doing the same things, and seeing the same people, you may miss out on this experience.  By going somewhere new and unexplored, you open yourself up to opportunities to learn new things and meet new people who you otherwise would not have had exposure to.

PRO – YOU ALREADY HAVE FRIENDS IN THE AREA

Staying local to your college town does mean that you’ll already have friends and colleagues in the area.  Whether it’s underclassmen that you were close to or a college professor that mentored you, having people that you know nearby can really help you feel secure and comfortable as you transition after graduation into your full-time career.

CON – YOU ALREADY HAVE FRIENDS IN THE AREA

Similar to the knowing the area con, having local friends that you already know can cause you to miss out on significant opportunities to meet new people and expand your horizons.  Staying in your college town can limit what you are exposed to in terms of ideas, thoughts, and activities as well as whom you meet and befriend along the way.

PRO – THERE ARE JOB OPPORTUNITIES ON AND AROUND CAMPUS

Another big pro of staying local to your college town is that there are typically plenty of job opportunities on and around the campus.  Whether you’re thinking of becoming a college professor or continuing to work with your favorite college sports team, this is a great opportunity to get some exposure to a career in a familiar place with familiar faces.

CON – YOUR JOB OPPORTUNITIES ARE LIMITED ON AND AROUND CAMPUS

Even if you go to a big school with a full college town around it, you may find that your job opportunities are pretty limited after you graduate.  Many big schools do have plenty of options on-campus for work, but if you were considering going into a different field, you may find yourself commuting or having to switch to something local to support yourself.  By moving out of your college town and going to a new location that you know will have opportunities for you in your career path of choice, you’re opening the door for further success down the road.

The Pros and Cons of Taking Online Classes

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THE PROS AND CONS OF TAKING ONLINE CLASSES

 

So, you’re thinking of enrolling in an online class and not sure if you should pull the trigger?  While online courses are a great way to catch up on your workload or get ahead for graduation, there are plenty of pros and cons that you should consider before you decide to take the plunge and enroll in one.  Remember, when in doubt, you can always reach out to your guidance counselor to help you figure out what to do.  They are a fantastic resource and will be able to talk you through it!

 

Without further ado, here are our top pros and cons for taking online classes next semester.

 

PRO #1 – THEY ARE SUPER EASY TO ATTEND

Because these classes are online, you don’t need to stress over actually getting to class.  Instead of planning ahead to make sure that you get to campus with enough time to find a parking spot and secure a seat in the lecture hall, you can simply open up your laptop and join in from the comfort of your own home!

 

CON #1 – THEY ARE SUPER EASY TO ATTEND

On the flip side, the fact that online classes are so easy to attend can be detrimental, too.  Many times students drop off in their attendance rate of online classes, since there is little or no accountability in terms of participation and actual attendance.  Because students tend to work at their own pace in online classes, they can fall behind, thinking that they’ll have plenty of time to catch up later.

 

PRO #2 – YOU ARE ABLE TO LEARN AT YOUR OWN PACE

Many online classes involve an aspect of being “self-taught” – in other words, you can work at your own pace to teach yourself the material with what resources the professor is offering your class.  Whether it’s watching instructional videos, participating in an online discussion forum, or working on class projects, you can easily work at your own pace and focus on what you need to in order to best learn the material and work to get ahead.

 

CON #2 – YOU HAVE TO LEARN AT YOUR OWN PACE

And again – this pro can absolutely be a con.  Rather than being upheld to a strict standard in order to pass the class, such as in an in-person lecture or lab, online courses allow for you to work at your own pace to learn the material.  As soon as you begin to fall behind or don’t understand something, you run the risk of digging yourself a hole that you can’t get out of before the end of the semester.  If you tend to put off work or have difficulties motivating yourself to learn on your own, this could be a trap that you will fall into with online classes.

 

PRO #3 – OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPLORATION

Last on our list of pros definitely involves the opportunity to explore other avenues.  If you’re feeling stuck in your major or minor and are interested in expanding your horizons and learning about something new that you may be very interested in, online classes are a great way to do so.  Majoring in Accounting but really drawn to Astronomy?  Enroll in an online class and see if that’s something that you would be interested in pursuing.  Thinking about switching your major from Law to Psychology?  Test out an online class before you take the plunge.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

All in all, online classes are a great way to help you get ahead on your coursework and supplement what you are already learning.  However, they do have some cons that need to be considered before you take the plunge and enroll in a class.  Always consider what your goals are before making your decision, and reach out to your guidance counselor if you need some good advise before you do.

Our Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipes

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Now that the holidays are officially here, it’s time to indulge in some spirited treats!  If you’re as much of a fan of holiday cookies as we are, you’ll definitely want to keep reading.  Here are our five favorite holiday cookie recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth and get you into the spirit of the season!

COOKIE #1 – THE CHOCOLATE CHIP

The classic and one of our all-time favorites, we will always reach for chocolate chip cookies to get us into the spirit of the season.  Here’s what you need to get your hands on these delicious little morsels:

  • Ungreased cookie sheet pan
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. hot water
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Now that you have all the ingredients, here’s what you do to get these cookies ready to eat:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time
  4. Add vanilla
  5. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to batter with salt
  6. Stir in flour and chocolate chips
  7. Drop by large spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet pan
  8. Bake for 10 minutes

COOKIE #2 – THE SPRITZ COOKIE

If you’re looking for a cookie that you can decorate and really bring on the holiday spirit, Spritz cookies are it.  Here’s what you need to make these classic and totally delicious cookies:

  • Ungreased cookie sheet pan
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp. almond or vanilla extract
  • Food coloring

Now that you’ve rounded everything up, here’s how to bake these babies:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Beat butter and sugar together until smooth
  3. Mix in flour, salt, egg, almond extract, and food coloring
  4. Bake 4 – 8 minutes

COOKIE #3 – THE PECAN CRESCENT COOKIE

One of our favorite flavors of the season, pecans make for gosh darn delicious cookies.  Get in on this flavor by making delicious Pecan Crescent cookies – here’s the ingredient breakdown:

  • Ungreased cookie sheet pan
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Now that you’re ready to go, here’s how to bake these cookies to perfection:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth
  3. Gradually add flour
  4. Add pecans
  5. Shape rounded spoonfuls of dough into 2 ½ inch logs and then shape into crescents
  6. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet pan
  7. Bake 20 – 22 minutes and let cool for 2-3 minutes
  8. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before service

COOKIE #4 – THE SNOWBALL COOKIE

Next up on our list of sugary delights is a holiday favorite – the snowball cookie.  These circular little balls of deliciousness are perfect for grabbing at a party or indulging any time during the holidays.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Ungreased cookie sheet pan
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely chopped pecans
  • Powdered sugar

Now that you have your supplies, here’s how to put these cookies together:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Mix butter and sugar until smooth
  3. Add vanilla and mix well
  4. Add flour and pecans gradually until smooth
  5. Shape into 1-inch balls and place 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet pan
  6. Bake 16 – 18 minutes
  7. Cool 5 minutes
  8. Roll in powdered sugar while still warm and again when cool

COOKIE #5 – THE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT COOKIE

Last but not least on our list is one of our favorites – the chocolate peppermint cookie.  This treat combines two of our favorite seasonal treats – chocolate and peppermint!  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cookie sheet pan lined with parchment paper
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 16 oz. broken or chopped white chocolate
  • ¼ cup crushed peppermint bits

Now that you’ve rounded everything up and are ready to go, here’s how to bake these delicious little numbers:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl for 20 seconds
  • Mix butter, sugar, and brown sugar until smooth
  • Mix in eggs one at a time
  • Add vanilla extract and peppermint extract
  • Slowly add flour mixture, mixing well
  • Scoop out dough into rounded spoonfuls and shape into balls
  • Space cookies on sheets 2-inches apart
  • Bake for 8 minutes
  • Melt white chocolate in microwave or on stove
  • Once cookies are cool, dip half into melted white chocolate and roll in crushed peppermint

Chill for 10 minutes to set chocolate.

These are just a few of our favorite cookies. Do you have a favorite that wasn’t listed? Let us know which ones you plan to bake over the holidays!

How to Make Sure you Meet Your Goals Next Year

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With 2018 soon coming to a close, it’s time to look back and reflect on what you’ve accomplished over the year.  Planned on saving some extra cash over the year and found yourself falling a little short?  No worries!  Planned on hitting straight A’s in all of your classes and didn’t quite make it?  That’s a-okay.  Even if you haven’t accomplished everything that you wanted to over the past year, don’t worry.  You can always take them head-on next year!

If you’re rolling over some of your 2018 goals to 2019 and need some inspiration to get you going, we’re here for you.  Here’s how to make sure that you get on the right track straight off the bat to help you meet your goals for next year.

STEP #1 – IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS AND WRITE THEM DOWN

First up, obviously, is to figure out what your goals are and put them down on paper.  By writing them down, this will help you feel as if you are truly committing to accomplishing them over the next year.

Are there any that you missed hitting this year that you’re ready to take another shot at next year?  Add them to your list.  Anything that you want to get done this year that you weren’t quite sure on last year?  Throw it on the list!  No matter what your goals – personal growth, financial, school, etc. – you should definitely write them down to help give you that initial motivation to get and keep going.

STEP #2 – FIGURE OUT YOUR SUB-GOALS AND PLOT THEM OUT

Sometimes giving yourself a goal can be a bit scary and overwhelming, especially if it’s something that will take a lot of effort or time.  For example – if your goal is to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year, that seems like a lot right off the bat!

The trick is to break down your big goals into smaller, more achievable goals that you can take on over the year rather than trying to do it all at once.  Rather than saying you’re going to lose 50 pounds, break it down to months and then weeks.  Suddenly, your goal will seem much more achievable!

Trying to hit straight A’s next semester?  Sit down and look at your current study habits and grades and identify how much extra time and effort that you’ll need to put in to get you there.  Break it out by tasks that you’ll need to accomplish on a weekly basis and give yourself check-in dates to make sure that you’re still on the right track each week.  By breaking it down into smaller achievable goals, you’ll keep yourself motivated throughout the year and will be less likely to fall off the bandwagon if something comes up that puts you behind.

STEP #3 – GET A FRIEND IN ON IT

Do you have trouble self-motivating or find yourself not following through on personal goals because you have no accountability?  Let’s add that back into the equation.  Get one of your friends in on your goal as an accountability buddy to help keep you on track and headed in the right direction.  Better yet – you can be their accountability buddy, too, if they need a little extra help on their goals!

By bringing someone else into the picture, you’re more likely to hold yourself accountable to your goals.  Additionally, having a support system to help you when you’re feeling lazy or slipping off-track can help you stay on schedule and keep you motivated, even when you feel totally lost.

Presents Aren’t Always the Best Gifts!

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With the holidays now in full swing and Christmas quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what to gift your friends and family. But as a broke college student on a budget, figuring out what you can actually afford to give can quickly become stressful and overwhelming.

If you’re on a limited budget but still want to get in the giving spirit of the season, never fear. You can always gift experiences and spend time with your friends and family rather than giving them a physical present! Here are a few invaluable ways to gift yourself to others this season.

GIFT IDEA #1 – BAKE SOMETHING DELICIOUS WITH YOUR FRIENDS

Food is always an affordable and easy present to give, and you can totally get your friends involved in the process! Invite your friends over to your dorm’s kitchen one night before the holiday break, throw on a cheesy Christmas movie or some tunes, and get down to baking your favorite seasonal treats.

If your friends are on as much of a budget as you are, this is an easy way to have everyone “gift” each other without the worry about running out of money. Ask your friends to bring something to contribute or bake, and you’re totally set for a holiday get-together!

GIFT IDEA #2 – HEAD OUT FOR SOME CHRISTMAS CAROLING

It may seem a little cliché, but this is totally a fun way to get into the Christmas spirit with your friends and/or family. It’s a silly way to get out and get into the spirit of the season in a totally low-pressure environment! Trust us – you won’t be the worst singer there.

If you’re feeling a little nervous about hitting the streets to carol on your own, look around on your town forums or city website ahead of time to see if there are any nights that are already set up for locals to go caroling as a group. You may end up making some new friends on the way!

GIFT IDEA #3 – GO ON A CHRISTMAS LIGHT TOUR

You don’t need a professional guide to go out and check out all the amazing lights set up around your town! Whether there’s a neighborhood nearby that’s known for their crazy setups or your simply cruising around looking, this is a great way to spend some time with friends and family for the holiday season.

Organize the night ahead of time and get some snacks and hot drinks ready for the ride. Gather your friends and family together, set up your caravan of cars, and hit the road for a free light show!

GIFT IDEA #4 – VOLUNTEER AT A LOCAL SHELTER

Whether you’re interested in helping the homeless or are totally on board for assisting some cute little animals for the holidays, getting together with friends and family to volunteer at a local shelter is a fun and rewarding way to get into the spirit of the season and really give back to others and your community.

If you’re not sure where to go or what to do, look around online and try getting in touch with a few local shelters. They may have some upcoming holiday events that they could use some help with or have suggestions for donations that you can provide in lieu of volunteering your time.