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Editor’s Note: This post comes to you from Brittany Scruggs who graduated in Spring 2014 with a degree in publication relations. Brittany was one of our great – and incredibly fashionable — interns.

We all know that college may be the time when you have just only a dollar to your name and have to pinch every cent. However, there are ways to find great deals on the clothes you love and look like a million bucks.

We are fortunate enough to live in a time when thrift stores and Goodwill stores are widely acceptable and accessible.  You can find the name brands you love for a great price. Items range from 30 cents to $5.99.

If thrift stores and Goodwills aren’t your thing or you have a little bit more money to spend, then I have a few ideas for you too. But, remember never buy something unless you are in love with it. If you walk away and still think about it, then run back and get it.

Let’s not forget the ultimate fun shop—your friends closet.

Today’s post comes from Tonya J. Ackley, coordinator of community engagement at the Wick Chapel on our campus.

Living on campus and having a roommate can be very exciting, but it can also create a bit of anxiety, especially if you will be rooming with someone you have never met.  One major challenge is learning how to deal with roommate or housemate conflict. Here is my top 10 list to help you.

1. Get to Know Your Roommate and Housemates
Take time to establish a connection with your roommate or housemates and you may have fewer issues than those students who haven’t. You don’t need to be friends to be roommates, but the better you know each other, the easier it is to approach each other if there is a problem. Understanding your roommate’s personality and preferences can help prevent conflicts and miscommunication.

2. Respect
Treat others the way you would like to be treated. This may sound simple enough, but it requires effort, especially when you feel you’re not being respected. Always be considerate of your roommate’s feelings and opinions. This will help to establish a foundation of respect in your apartment.

3. CommunicationDealingWithRoommateIssues
Lack of communication is the biggest culprit when it comes to roommate conflicts. Be honest with your roommate if there is a problem. Approach him or her in a respectful manner and talk face to face. Notes, text messages, and “nasty grams” are not effective means of communication. Avoid assessing blame, name-calling, and swearing. Keep your tone calm and polite. Also, don’t address issues in front of other people. Talk privately.

4. Be Open-Minded and Accepting of Differences
You don’t have to have a ton in common to get along. In fact, living with someone who has different opinions, experiences, and perspectives can be a lot more fun. You can learn a lot from your roommate and your roommate can learn a lot from you. Try to value each other’s uniqueness.

5. Be Flexible
You’re not perfect and neither is your roommate. We all have flaws. Decide what is worth having a conflict over and what is not. For example, you may not like waking up to a hair dryer at 7 a.m., but isn’t that better than being kept up all night to the sounds of your roommate vomiting after a night of heavy drinking?

6. Set Clear Expectations
Your housemates can’t read your mind. Don’t assume everyone is on the same page. If you have an expectation, share it with your roommates and explain why you feel that way. Ask them if they are comfortable with your expectation and if not, find a way to compromise or an alternate solution. For example, you may want your roommate to let you know in advance before he or she brings over guests so you’re not caught off guard. Let him or her know what your expectations are and why. Be specific.

7. Establish Boundaries
Again, your housemates can’t read your mind. Let them know where your boundaries are and gently tell your housemates when those boundaries have been crossed. Let your housemates know about your “hot buttons,” triggers, pet peeves and other information you feel they should know.

8. Be Responsible and Accept Responsibility
You are ultimately responsible for yourself and your actions. Take ownership of your mistakes and make every effort to correct the problem.

9. Compromise or Find Alternative Solution
You can’t always get your way. Compromise is sometimes necessary. Finding middle ground isn’t always the right answer; an alternative solution may be needed. This is based on how important or how strongly you feel about the issue.

10. Follow the Three-Day Rule
If there is a problem with your roommate or housemates, address the issue within three days. If you have not addressed the issue within three days, then let it go. At this point, you have decided that the issue wasn’t that important to bring up.

If you’re having trouble dealing with a situation within your apartment, please contact your Resident Advisor for assistance. RAs are trained to help you navigate through roommate conflicts.

Residence life coordinators are also available to help and can offer advice, guidance, and support. If you can’t reach a resolution, the Office of Residential Life and Housing will make the final decision to resolve the situation.

We all want to sound smart, right? (If you don’t, you probably shouldn’t be reading this.) Well, there are some books that are chock full of fascinating facts that, if you read them, will make you look like you’re a genius.

And, since you have some time off from school, this may be the perfect time to try one of these.

This list comes from the Barnes & Noble Book Blog:

The Private Life of Chairman Mao by Li Zhisui
Did you know Mao Zedong had venereal disease? You’ll learn that and other fascinating facts if you read this.

The Great Cat Massacre by Robert Darnton
There was actually a cat holocaust in the late 1730s in Paris. Who knew? You will if you tackle this tome.

The Bloody White Baron: The Extraordinary Story of the Russian Nobleman who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia by James Palmer
This book features some pretty interesting things, including orgies, murder, corruption and cruelty.

The Fugu Plan: The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews During World War II by Marvin Tokayer
This tells the story of Chiune Sugihara, the “Japanese Oskar Schindler,” who saved thousands of Jews during the war.

Russophobia in New Zealand 1838-1908 by Glynn Barratt
Russophobia lasted in New Zealand for 70 years. Why? Well, you’re going to have to read it to find out. Imagine the conversations you can have at your next party.

Happy Reading, you genius, you.


Yeah, we know. You’re overwhelmed with reading for class. But, when you have those pockets of free time, or over the winter break, you can read one of these 65 books recommended by BuzzFeed that will move you, inspire you, make you laugh and make you cry.

Of course, Christmas is coming, so you could put one or more of these books on your Christmas list.

Here is just a sampling:

Novels

Memoirs

Poetry

General Life How-Tos

Happy reading.

Are you trying to figure out what to get your college student for Christmas? Well, there is always the favorite – cold, hard cash. But – and we’re not trying to persuade you not to give cash – there are some other clever ideas out there as well.

PBS Food has a Kitchen Gift Guide for college students that may give you some good ideas. Keep in mind, though, that before you choose one of these items, you’re going to have to make sure that your student is allowed to have it in his residence hall. Of course, if your son or daughter is living on campus, that shouldn’t be a problem.PhotoforDec.11Post

Indoor electric grill
This baby is reversible so your son or daughter can make burgers or pancakes by using the same device.

Toaster oven and broiler
This is perfect for toasting bagels or reheating pizza. (Although, your son/daughter may prefer cold pizza.)

Nonstick frying pan
This is a great gift for anyone, but your college student will likely appreciate that his/her scrambled eggs or burger or grilled cheese won’t stick.

Homemade soda machine
Your son or daughter probably drinks a lot of soda, which can be pretty expensive.  And, all of those bottles and cans wreak havoc on the environment. With this soda machine, he/she can make a wide assortment of flavored sodas, save money and protect the earth.

Family recipe book
This is our favorite. At least once, your son or daughter has wanted to cook something that you have made, but he/she didn’t have the recipe. With this pocket page recipe book, you can add his/her favorite recipes to this book, which includes 40 four-inch by six-inch decorated recipe cards.

If you have any gift ideas, let us know and we’ll share them.

If you’re not in the throes of Finals Week yet, you will be soon. That means you’ll be taking some pretty important tests. Last week, we shared some tips on how to survive Finals Week. In the meantime, we came across some interesting tips when taking multiple-choice tests from our friends at Hack College that we thought you might find helpful.

Keep in mind that nothing beats studying and paying attention in class. And, none of these helpful hints will work all of the time. But, you never know which one of these might give you a bit of an edge. PhotoForDec.9

Stick with what you heard in class
If there are one or two choices that you never discussed in class, rule those out. Of course, this only works if you’ve been attending class and paying attention.

When there are two choices that sound similar, pick one of them
If two of the choices are almost identical in terms of spelling, one of them is probably the correct answer. Sometimes professors like to give you two similar options.

If two choices say the same thing, pick another answer
You may have on your test a set of answers where two of the choices are basically the same but worded differently. Since both of them can’t be correct, rule them out and choose another answer.

Avoid answers with the words “all,” “every,” never” or “none”
There are few things in the world that are absolute, so you’re pretty safe steering clear of these answers.

Avoid extreme answers
If one of the answers is completely out of place, it’s probably because it doesn’t belong there. Avoid that answer; it’s probably not correct.

If two of the options appear correct, choose “all of the above”
If you’re sure that two of the answers are correct and you have an “all of the above” option, that’s most likely the correct answer.

Don’t overthink it
If you don’t know the answer, not overthink it. Over analyzing it will just make you more confused.

Good luck.

If you’ve already been through Finals Week, then you know it can be stressful. But we’re here to help. On Monday we gave you some tips to help you survive. Today we have more.

These come from the College Survival Handbook and about.com’s college life section:

PhotoForDec.4PostGo see your professor
If you’re not doing well in the class, talk with your professor. Of course, the best time to talk to your professor is at the first sign of trouble in the class. But, better late than never.

Take a break every now and then
Your brain needs time to absorb everything you’re trying to cram into it. So, you’re going to have to give your brain a rest. The best way to do that is find a quiet place and just clear your mind.

Don’t try to do everything at once
You’ll just get overwhelmed. Instead, make a schedule and do a little at a time.

Drink lots of water
Your brain needs to be hydrated. Caffeinated beverages won’t work as well as water.

Don’t waste time
Get off Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest. Stop Googling silly things. Ignore YouTube.  And. Just. Study.

Know what material will be covered
Will the final have everything you’ve covered in class? Will it include only the material since the midterm? These are questions you’ll need to have answers for.

Look at other exams you’ve had in the class
Most likely, your professor has an exam style. So, if you look at the previous tests he or she has given, you’ll get an idea of what kind of material he/she considers will be on the final. Knowing that will help you study.

Ask students who have already had the class
There’s a good chance that you know someone who had the class before you. Ask him/her what the final was like and what you can do to be as prepared as possible.

Good luck.

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