4 Ways You Can Make the Most of College While Commuting

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When you think of the college experience, you most likely think about living in a dorm, walking to and from class, and eating with friends in a cafeteria. However, that reality isn’t the story for every college student these days, as many choose to commute from home to school. Whether it is to save money, enjoy more time with family, or to work between classes – commuting can be a great choice. But, if you still want a more traditional college experience, there are ways to make the situation work for you. Here’s how you can make the most of college at home.

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How to Decorate with Polka Dots- OCM Style!

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It all began when photographs of Miss America of 1926, Norma Smallwood, showed the beauty posing joyfully in a polka-dot swimsuit.  After that, Walt Disney introduced the stylish animated mouse, Minnie, dressed in a polka dot red dress with matching hair bow, designer Christian Dior created collections around the print, and singers like Frank Sinatra and Bryan Hyland released hit songs about women wearing polka dots.  In 1940, the Los Angelos Times stated, “You can sign your fashion life away on the polka-dotted line, and you’ll never regret it.”  Even then, the fashion world knew that this playful and feminine pattern would be a constant force in seasonal trends—and, boy, were they right!

Since its first arrival on the scene in the late 1920’s, polka dots have undergone some slight modernization, but its youthful, energetic legacy is still intact.  Today, polka dots can be seen on the runways of high fashion shows, printed on cellphone and laptop cases, and in room and home décor.  Of course, the latter being our favorite category, below are some ways in which you can use polka dots to decorate your room.

In the Bathroom

Mimicking the shape of bubbles, the bathroom is a great place to incorporate polka dots.  While some people might prefer using the pattern as an accent detail, we think there is no reason to skimp on dots when it comes to the bathroom.  Just make sure each item you choose has the same color scheme to avoid making the room like a clown’s changing room. Some of our favorite bath items include this polka dot shower curtain and bath rug (which goes perfect with this Chrome Doodle trash can).

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Bedding

Why not make your bed the focal point in the room by covering it in polka dots?  Gone are the days where a bed simply consisted of one sheet, one comforter, and a pillow.  Now, a bed cannot be complete without some embellished throw pillows and decorative blankets, like this Hello Kitty blanket.  One take we recommend is for your bedding pieces to have a color scheme where two colors alternate between dot color and background color.  For instance, your pillows could have a scheme of white dots against black background, while your sheets could consist of black dots against a white background, and so on.

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Decor

Polka dots are the perfect pattern to help turn mundane room accessories into stylish attention grabbers.  Here at OCM, we have tons of polka dotted accessories to help organize the clutter in your room, and look great doing it. One of our favorites are these black and blue polka dot hangers.   A must-have is our Dry Erase Dots Wall Decals—write upcoming assignments or your favorite quotes and plop on the walls around your room. Either way, they’re the perfect way to complete your polka dot decorated room

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Incorporating polka dots into your dorm room will create a playful, feminine, and stylish atmosphere.  Since there is no real rule-of-thumb when it comes to how much polka dots is too many polka dots, you can use your discretion.  If you decide you want your room in floor to ceiling dots, just make sure they are the same color scheme and patterns range from cluttered dots, to more spread out.  And of course, always have fun when choosing to decorate your room with polka dots, since that is what the print exudes!

 

Writing a Research Paper Pt 2: Credible Sources

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Writing a research paper takes time. Making an outline is part of the journey, but finding adequate research to back up your argument or topic is where things get tricky. As a college student, you should know by now the do’s and don’ts of research papers, but just in case you forgot and are in panic mode, don’t worry. I’ve got you.

Do: Before anything, make sure you’ve picked a topic that isn’t too broad. Maybe you want to talk about dogs, specifically how certain breeds are viewed by society and any stigmas they carry, ie; Pit bulls. Instead of just hitting fingers to keyboard right away, try to narrow your topic down a little more first. Trying to research a topic as broad as that will pull up a plethora of resources some helpful, and some not helpful at all. You’ll spend more time sifting through research than you will even writing your paper. Try something like, “the misconception of Pit bulls in society. Dangerous or mis-trained by owners”. Or, if you’re on the other side of the argument, try researching the breed of dog, the genetic traits that make them more or less aggressive, and events in history that have given them the stigma they hold today. Point being, the more specific, the better.

Don’t: I’m sure I don’t have to tell you to be careful using Google for your research purposes, but if you are an avid Wikipedia user, this is for you. Wikipedia is great. When you’re looking up quick facts about events in a movie or character in a game or novel, it’s the perfect outlet. The problem with Wikipedia is that it isn’t a credible source, meaning it can be edited and altered by just about anyone, and no one checks to see if the information presented is factual. When researching for your paper, try to use your college’s online library for scholarly articles and databases. Most times, these articles within the database will even have an APA citation ready for you to use (or study if you’re unsure of how to format it). If you must use Google, try to use Google Scholar. Much like your school’s library, Google Scholar can be filtered by Boolean phrases and can be trusted for credible sources. Just make sure that your professor hasn’t specified that the sources must be within the last 5, 10 years. Some professors will ask for recent research, in which case you can filter the search results by the year.

Do:┬áCheck your research and compare it to your outline BEFORE you start writing your paper. If you’re like me, your research and notes can get a little jumbled around. You might start writing one part of your paper and insert a few quotations from your research and leave out some of the important ones. When you compare your research to your outline, you can break up your information and research by sections such as findings, methodology, statistics, etc. This will help you stay on track and organized from start to finish. A smooth flow in a research paper is key ┬áto a strong argument. If your reader gets confused, your argument will fall flat.

Don’t: If your paper is supposed to be 8 pages in length not including a title page and work’s cited, don’t use up 6 of the pages with long, misplaced quotations. Having a lot of research is great, it means you’ve taken the time to learn a lot about your subject and you’re excited to share with others. Make sure your professor ┬áknows how much work you’ve put into your paper by adding your own thoughts, feelings and understanding of the topic at hand. The quotations are great to back up your thoughts, but try not to let them overtake your entire paper. And, as always, make sure you use the proper in-text citations! Plagiarism is taken very seriously, and even if you don’t mean to take information from another author or scholar and paraphrase, summarize or quote without citations, you could face some serious consequences. If you’re not sure if you’ve cited correctly or adequately, try heading to your university library or asking your professor for help.

Final Research Paper? Here’s How to Pick a Topic

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Research papers aren’t exactly my idea of ‘fun’. Sometimes you get those professors who make you pick from a list of approved topics, and sometimes you can come up with your own topic. Every class and professor is different. Some research papers are meant to inform, others to persuade, and some are strictly about an event or person in history. Whichever paper you’re chosen to write, make sure that the topic is something you can relate to. If you’re having a hard time picking a topic for your research paper, here’s a few tips and questions to ask yourself to get the ball rolling.

1) What is the purpose of this paper? As mentioned above, each research paper serves a different purpose. Maybe you’re writing to inform your readers about the effects of canned foods on the body. Or maybe you’re trying to persuade your readers about animal testing and why they should or shouldn’t use certain products. You can also write a research paper on cause and effect relationships, man vs nature, etc. For example, if you’re writing a research paper on Sociology and gender, you could pick a topic about men and women and their differences in satisfaction in the workplace. A topic like this has been researched by many scholars and is sure to have plenty of credible sources to refer to. If you’re going to use plenty of sources, of course be sure to properly cite and give the authors credit to avoid plagiarism.

2) Pick a topic that interests you – If you’re going to be married to a ten page research paper all weekend, you might as well be writing about something that already interests you. Or, something that you already know a lot about. Writing about a subject you know nothing about will not only be pretty uninteresting to you, but it will also cause you to rely on your sources a lot in your paper. This could cause a problem if you’re using really lengthy quotes to back up one of your ideas or if you’re paraphrasing the text the entire paper. When you write about what you know, you can add in your personal thoughts and opinions and then back your thoughts up with credible sources. Get excited about what you write about!

3) Research LOTS of sources – Here’s the thing. Research papers take a lot of time, that’s no question. Often times, if you pick a subject that is too broad you might have to spend time raking through sources to find the ones that pertain the most to your ideas. Make sure that every source you pick works towards bettering your paper, and not just fluffing it up with extra wording. You want to make sure your paper flows and follows an outline. The sources you pick, if you pick them carefully, will help guide you to a strong argument and complete paper. Fluidity is key!

These are just three tips to picking your research paper. If you want to learn more about preparing to write a research paper and searching for sources, come back and read Monday’s Blog, “Credible Sources”. ┬áHave any other ┬ágreat tips? Share them below or email us at Blog@ocm.com!