Archive for July, 2017

Tips for International Students: Turn Difficulties into Advantages

July 24th, 2017

BY MELISSA BURNS

The trend of studying abroad appears to be on the rise with no indication of stopping its ascent any time soon. With a more globally connected world than we’ve ever had and higher-education being more accessible than ever before, more and more students are looking for opportunities to expand their academic level outside of their home countries.

These “foreign nationals” represent individuals that are eager to learn and determined to succeed away from home. And while they do a lot for their host countries, in terms of economic influx, for instance, they still face a lot of difficulties that may seem daunting at first.

Below are two of the biggest obstacles that international students often have to deal with, and how they can turn them into advantages.

  1. Language barrier

Most study abroad programs require a certain level of the receiving country’s national language in each of the potential students they host. However, being able to manage communication with your host country’s population is a far cry from being fluent with it.

Listening and speaking in a new language can get tiring. It requires a conscious effort on the part of international students, especially when they’re just starting out with their classes and their brains and ears haven’t had enough time to adjust to the new sounds.

Also, standardized tests such as the TOEFL may give students some skills to manage in an English-speaking country, but it doesn’t teach them the necessary things for interacting and communicating in day-to-day situations. When international students can’t understand a joke a professor says in class or can’t enjoy a casual conversation with native speakers, they can often feel isolated and homesick.

Mastery of their host country’s language is both a necessity and an opportunity for international students. Taking language classes and being immersed in it every day will help them learn the new language that much quicker and, while it may be difficult at first, it can lead to some amazing career choices in the long run.

One way they can take advantage of this situation is to pursue a career as a translator from

their native language to the acquired one (and vice versa). Not only are there plenty of job opportunities in this field, but also some of them can be done remotely without them having to leave their dorm rooms.

  1. Culture shock

While the vast majority of international students view experiencing a new culture as an exciting new adventure, the truth is that it will take them some time to adjust to their host country’s ideals and way of life, more so than they think it will.

This is one of the most common difficulties international students face as they deal with different social rules, behaviors, climates than what they’re used to. Luckily, most colleges offer counseling to their students and to help make acclimation easier.

While some students never really get completely comfortable surrounded by a new culture, others will find themselves flourishing in this new environment. Being able to fully experience different cultures will certainly be an advantage for many.

One way students can put this advantage to good use is to pursue a career in International Relations. Given that they have lived in at least two different countries with different cultures, they will certainly have the edge over the rest of their peers.

Last word of advice

Being an international student can be as thrilling as it is scary. Remember that you don’t have to go at it alone, try your hardest to get involved with your school, reach out and engage with other students and ask for help if you need it. Most of all, try to enjoy everything this experience has to offer.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Follow her @melissaaburns or contact at burns.melissaa@gmail.com

  

7 Steps to Develop Students’ Creative Thinking

July 21st, 2017

BY DAVID GUTIERREZ

Creative thinking is commonly associated with the students in the arts or with high performing students. However, using techniques that promote creative and critical thinking such as reason, imagination and innovation can significantly improve students’ achievement in any learning area and even in their lives beyond college. We have gathered advice and examples from the most innovative companies and leading experts about very specific steps you can follow when it comes to improving the level of thinking.

 

Raphael Diluzio, a serial creative artist, entrepreneur, and a professor has demystified the creative process and shared the 7 steps of creative thinking (not necessarily in this particular order).

 

  1. Ask a question

The first stage of the creative process is just forming a question, an idea or a problem. If you don’t have a flash of an idea, then you can begin from this stage and try to come up with a question or a difficult situation you want to overcome in studying. As students, you have to go through every day being given challenges. That’s why take these problems and form a question around them.

2. Start research

After you frame a question, you engage in the process of research. According to Raphael DiLuzio, research can manifest itself in many different ways. For example, if you are an artist, you can make a sketch, if you are a chef, you can taste and smell things. But what you do is experience the world and gather information around the question you have formed.

 

  1. Basta stage

Raphael calls the third stage in Italian manner as a basta stage, when you can research for a long time, see the general picture or get down in the weeds and lost in the particulars. Therefore you have to know when to say enough. As students, very often you don’t have this choice because of deadlines, and that’s when comes the next stage. That’s the path Fred Smith took with his idea of FedEx. The whole concept of FedEx was first created, while writing an undergraduate paper. Rumors are, that Fred Smith actually got a C for that paper. Anyway, after college he left his idea and went to Marine Corps for some time. Only after that, he came back to FedEx and started working on it.

 

  1. Gestation

At this stage, there are three activities that can occur as a part of a creative process. When you hold a question you enter into a state of detachment, which means that you should hold on to this question and keep it in the back of your mind and distract yourself by some unrelated activities, such as sport, shopping or think of other things.

 

  1. Eureka moment

This moment means that you not only have this brilliant idea but also an answer to it. One of the prominent examples of innovative approach was demonstrated by the Swiss company Lonite that spotted the market opportunity of turning human cremation ashes into memorial diamonds and exploited it through creative and innovative thinking. Lonite’s example demonstrates that the eureka moment can be a turning point for many innovative companies that once have invented solution ideas to solve existing problems. According to Lonite, in order to achieve this stage, you have to think about your idea in a different way. For example, to commemorate someone, people commonly think of traditional burial. However, by associating the deceased beloved ones with a diamond, a well-known symbol of hope and eternal love, the company could successfully bring this idea to life and communicate it.

 

  1. Implementation

Then comes a sixths stage when a lot of people fail. When we are challenged with having a good idea, actually giving it a birth is very difficult for us because we are afraid of failure. Remember that you have to operate without fear and accept the possible failure. If you are not aware of the process of how to implement your idea, you have to gather people around you or describe your idea as detailed as possible. It is important to remember that you should share your ideas in order to actually implement it.

 

  1. Testing

The last and most important stage is a stage of testing and criticism. When you bring your idea into the world, you have to share it and ask people whether they like it or not. Maybe you have made something wonderful, or there is still something to improve.

It is important to understand that the stages of innovative thinking do not come in this particular order. However, you should be able to identify each stage and implement them during your studies.

Remember that we are all living in an operational world that draws us away from our true inventive natures. Innovation is a very primal aspect of our being, that’s why step away from your day-to-day activities through thinking of things differently. Always value your ideas and do not be afraid of bringing them to life and sharing them.

David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates of the web development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Financial Plan for College Students on Their Own

July 20th, 2017

BY KEVIN FABER

 

Earning a college degree is a major undertaking. Going to college on your own is doubly challenging. You have to ta deal with classes and set aside time to study, and you must take charge of all of the financial responsibilities that come with being independent. This means budgeting money and paying bills. However, you also have to do other things like arrange financial aid and buy insurance.

Money Management 101

 Knowing how to manage your money is vital when you are on your own. Start by creating a budget. Budgets shouldn’t be complicated. Make a list of all of your monthly expenses. Include estimates for food and incidental items rent, utilities and other bills. Don’t forget to allow for insurance and other expenses that aren’t due every single month. List all of your income, including any help you receive from parents or other family members. Your budget serves as a guideline that you will use to track and control spending, so that you don’t run short at the end of the month.

Set up a savings account. Saving money regularly has several benefits for students. If you save some each month, you’ll have reserve cash for cash for unexpected expenses. A savings account is also a place to keep cash you set aside for large outlays like car insurance payments. Banks allow you to set up periodic automatic deductions from a checking to a savings account to make saving easier.

Dealing with Financial Aid

 Students on their own frequently need financial aid. File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, at the start of each calendar year.You can file online. Getting an early start allows time for processing. This insures your financial aid package will be ready when the academic year begins, so that you avoid paying a lot of money up front and waiting for a reimbursement check.

For independent undergraduate students, there is a catch. If you are age 24 or less, federal rules normally don’t allow you to file as an independent student. Even when you are 100 percent on your own, you are still considered a dependent. This rule does not apply to graduate students. There are exceptions. You may qualify as independent if you are married, a veteran, homeless, an orphan or an emancipated minor. Otherwise,you must ask a parent to file the FAFSA to qualify for grants and subsidized loans. Colleges grant an override of this rule only if you can show extreme circumstances. For example, you might get an override if a parent is in jail. If an undergraduate student’s parent refuse to file the FAFSA, federal student aid is limited to unsubsidized loans.

Play It Safe — Get Insurance

 State law may require that you purchase auto insurance. Your college may require health insurance. However, don’t neglect to purchase a renter’s insurance policy if you live off campus. Students who live on campus are usually covered by their parent’s homeowner’s insurance, but not when they live off campus. Renters insurance isn’t expensive. It will pay for replacing your belongings in the event of a fire, theft or damage. You can easily compare free insurance quotes online in order to find the best coverage for your situation.

Avoid Spending Traps

 Be careful if you choose to get a credit card. True, a credit card is convenient. You can use it to build an excellent credit rating. However, if you are late making payments, you can damage your credit score for years. The best policy is to pay off the balance at the end of each month. Whether you decide to use credit or not, don’t buy stuff you don’t need. Buy used textbooks when you can. Avoid wasting money on expensive laptops or the latest cellphone.

Financial management isn’t rocket science, and it isn’t hard to learn. Handling money well is a matter of common sense and self discipline. Stay on top of things and you’ll be just fine.

Kevin Faber has experience starting his own business from the ground up and he is passionate about helping others achieve their goals. His background is in finance/investing.

 

Tips for College Student to Improve Sleep Habits

July 19th, 2017

BY GORDON SCHORR

Attending classes, studying, and taking part in all that college life has to offer is an awesome experience, but it can also be a tiring one. You are trying to do it all, and in order to do that, you don’t sleep much. Unfortunately, this can be detrimental to your health, and if it continues, it is going to affect your studies and grades. What you need to do is find a way to be able to do it all, and still get the sleep you need to function normally and be healthy. Here are some tips that will help you to improve your sleep habits so you get the sleep you need to be healthy and do well in all of your courses.

 

  1. Don’t Cram 

You may think that you are taking a lot in during those late-night cramming sessions. Actually, you are doing yourself a lot more harm than good. You are less likely to remember what you are studying when you are sleep-deprived. You need sleep in order to recharge your body and your brain, and without sleep, your grades are going to suffer. The more you cram late at night, the worse it could get. On that same note, it is a good idea to avoid using your tech gadgets late at night. This includes being on your computer, using your smartphone, etc. This just keeps your brain stimulated, so you will have a more difficult time falling asleep.

 

  1. Take a Nap 

“If you have a free period after lunch, this is the ideal time to take a power nap. Even if you just snooze for 20 minutes, you are going to find that you have improved concentration and are more alert. Getting that little bit of extra sleep also lets you rest your eyes. This is important, because your eyes can only take just so much strain,” says Dr. Saba Khodadadian, optometrist.  You only get one pair of eyes, so take care of them. This is not a sleep replacement by any means. But, it is going to give you that boost you need to get through the rest of the day. Mid-afternoon is the best time for a nap. Avoid napping in the evening, because it could make it difficult for you to sleep at night.

 

  1. Get some Exercise 

Most people who exercise regularly say that they sleep better at night. Research does show that those who exercise regularly do have healthier sleep patterns than those who don’t exercise. There are several ways that exercise can help you sleep. It gives your immune system a boost. It is great for dealing with stress. And, it increases the flow of blood to your brain, which can help with your studies. Exercising in the morning is the most beneficial. Your school likely has exercise facilities on campus, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a gym membership. Or, take a look at the different sports and other physical activities offered, such as yoga classes or running groups.

 

  1. No Late-Night Drinking 

We all partied in college. It is a rite of passage. But, some students seem to make partying their major, and it does affect their studies. You may think that you can sleep better if you have a drink or two later in the evening. Actually, it does just the opposite. You may get several hours of sleep, but it isn’t going to be quality sleep. Drinking at night also makes it more likely for you to wake up too early and not be able to fall asleep again. If you do drink regularly, stick weekend drinking, and avoid drinking through the week, or at least late in the evening.

 

Gordon Schorr is an online educator and creative writer. 

Make Your Academic Paper Worth A Professor’s Time

July 18th, 2017

By Scott Ragin

Imagine being a college professor. A deadline for the latest written assignment passed, and your students sent their essays for you to grade. You open your inbox and find twenty essays. Tomorrow, another class will provide their assignments as well. That’s a lot of works to grade.

This is a routine that many college and university professors have these days. Just imagine how many academic papers they read every week. What this means for you as a student is that you need to improve your writing skills because it’s very hard to impress a person who reads essays on a daily basis.

If you’re still reading this, there’s a good chance that you need some pointers on how to make your academic works stand out in a sea of other essays. You’ve come to the right place.

Here are great tips and tools to achieve this goal.

1. “Hook” the attention from the beginning

As it was mentioned previously, it’s very hard to impress a professor who reads essays every day. You need something to persuade a viewer to continue reading until the end. Academic works that use conventional beginning may lose the attention of the readers very quickly.

We don’t want that, so we are going to use a smart approach. The secret lies in making the very first sentence in the essay as a “hook” that can grab the attention of the reader. For example, you can speak directly to the reader or make a bold statement. Note that a well-written research paper introduction is half a win.

2. Defend your position

Professor always appreciate if students have a strong stand on their topic. For example, if you just state your position and provide a couple of examples, it’s not enough for a really convincing paper.

Why? The answer is really simple. The approach that I just described might work for a high school (and not for long). You may have our own position on the topic, but is there any evidence that you’re right?

A position or a view should be defended using reliable evidence. This increases the credibility of your work and avoids making a weak point by talking around the main idea and hoping that the talk will eventually make sense.

I guess what I’m saying here is that you should rely on scholars and their evidence in defending your position in an academic paper. Clearly, your view needs to be supported with someone of worth, so only reliable sources are to be utilized. You can use specialized search engines for scholar research for that.

Moreover, you will have much more chances to convince your professor that you’re doing everything in the right way. Also, please get rid of this tiny print or buy your professor a dissecting microscope. He’ll be pleased.

3. Challenge an idea you discussed in the class

This is one of the best methods to attract the interest of the reader. Think of an idea, a concept, or a topic that you had a conversation about in the class recently. Can you challenge it? Yes? Then you definitely should!

To ensure that your arguments are solid, you should also use only credible resources. Don’t forget, you are challenging something, so you better have a good proof. Otherwise, your effort will not be looking so good in the eyes of the professor (you’ll get C for the effort).

Also, don’t be afraid if your professor may not support your position regarding that idea. He or she will appreciate the fact that you conducted a research and arrived at your own conclusions. This will definitely make your work stand out because the rest of the class probably just skimmed the surface and were lazy enough to dive deep into the topic.

4. Show that you learned something

This tip actually is a continuation of the previous one. Since you have conducted your own research and challenged the idea discussed in the class, you have a lot to say in your paper.

While researching, you have probably discovered some interesting points that prompted you to think differently than the rest of the class. This means that you learned much more because you were able to dive deeper into the subject at hand.

Your academic work should describe those points and explain how you came to the conclusions. As the result, you’ll demonstrate that you actually learned something instead of skimming the surface of the topic like most of other works.

Reading works like these would be a priceless experience for a professor. He or she will be glad to discover that you have done all that work on your own.

Academic writing tools

To make sure that you’ve covered all bases, use the following tools.

  1. Citation Machine. As we discussed it above, reliable sources are needed to make your paper credible. All these sources must be cited in order to avoid plagiarism. This tool is an automatic citation generating site that could be really helpful for creating reference pages and bibliographies in academic papers. Just provide the information about a source of paste a link so the system recognizes it and generates citation automatically.
  2. Hemingway Editor. As the website of the tool describes it, the main purpose it to make your writing “bold and clear.” It is achieved by highlighting complex sentences, advising on word selection, using active and passive voice. All you need is to paste your text into Hemingway online editor (a desktop app is also available). The readability of the text is measured by points (for example, 6 is good).

 

Scott Ragin is a qualified educator, author and scholar. He is experienced in classroom teaching, training teachers and leaders and advising academic researchers. Scott covers different topics concerning higher education and educational technology and guides students through the admission process at admission-service.com.

 

 

10 Tips to Maximize College Orientation

July 17th, 2017

BY PAMELA CURRIER

Do you remember how nervous you were on your first day of school? Things don’t really change all that much, and now you are heading to college. You may be older now, but admit it, you are just as nervous now as you were all those years ago. But, there is one major difference. You have an idea of what to expect, and if you take part in the college orientation, you won’t have nearly as much to be nervous about as you did on that first day of school. Let’s take a look at 10 ways that you can get the most out of your college orientation and be prepared to start one of the most exciting experiences of your life.

  1. Bring Your ID and Laptop – There are a few things that you should bring with you to orientation, including your ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.). Don’t forget your laptop. You will need it in order to select up to 10 classes prior to registration day.
  2. Don’t Bring Friends – This is your chance to meet new people and learn about the campus. If you bring along your friends, you are likely to ignore new people, and you might also miss out on a lot because you are too busy socializing.
  3. Make New Friends – On the subject of friends, this is the time to make lifelong friends. Don’t sit alone at orientation. Find a group and sit with them, and start talking. You may even decide to get together after orientation to talk or hang out.
  4. Don’t Miss Anything – Never skip any of the orientation sessions, because you may miss something that you really need to know about. Stick to the orientation schedule, attend all appointments, go to information sessions, and take part in orientation activities.
  5. Walk Around Campus – When you have a few spare moments, use them wisely. Take a walk around the campus, and make note of the areas that you want to know more about, quiet places to study, and any other points of interest.
  6. Join Clubs – Now is a great time to sign up for clubs, teams, and other activities. “Don’t worry if you don’t have any experience. Just sign up for the things you are interested in, and once you get involved, you will start to gain experience,” says Dr. James Taft.
  7. No Cellphones! – You don’t need to be tied to your cell phone constantly, and this is one time when you should just turn it off completely. You can answer texts and emails later. Right now, you need to concentrate on learning about your new campus, what your classes will be, etc.
  8. Visit Your Dorm – If your dorm arrangements have already been made, this is your chance to check out the dorm. Take a look at your room, find out where the kitchen is, where the laundry facilities are located, etc. The last thing you want is to wake up in the middle of the night and not know where the bathroom is.
  9. Ask Questions – It is a good idea to have a list of questions prepared ahead of time, and not the most obvious questions. Read up on the school, find things in the brochures that you are curious about, and ask questions if the brochures don’t have the answers you are looking for.
  10. Take Photos – While you are touring around the campus, take photos of everything, from buildings to advisors to new friends you have met. This way, you will be able to easily remember what things look like once you are living and studying on campus, and things will be easier to find.

Pamela Currier helps recent grads land the jobs of their dreams, she is a career coach and educator.

 

To Take or Not : Pros and Cons of a Gap Year

July 14th, 2017

By Sylvia Kohl

Taking a gap year between obtaining the bachelor’s and master’s degrees can be a wise decision if you need a short break. It might help you do better in class, and you can use the time to get a job and start making money. Skipping a gap year will give you a master’s degree sooner and you can get a job anyway. However, if you decide to work while studying for your master’s, you’ll be inviting a disaster due to the huge amount of stress caused by the double workload. To make the right decision, consider the pros and cons of all options.

Pros of Taking a Gap Year:

  1. Taking a gap year can help improve your performance in class because you’ll get a chance to rest and recuperate after the finals. If better schoolwork is your goal, spend this time studying on your own.
  2. A break from studies will allow you to reassess your priorities. During this time you can try starting a business or work at various spheres. You can use your experiences to adjust your choices for the master’s program based on your new preferences.
  3. Additional work during a gap year may be good for your resume. If you plan to work for a business that values real-life experience, you’ll be able to show it along with your college degree.

Cons of Taking a Gap Year:

  1. You may lose your ‘studying momentum’ and your motivation to study will go down.
  2. If you spend the gap year inefficiently, you might accumulate more debt or miss a chance to get into a good master’s program.
  3. Without occasional studying, you may forget important data, so restarting your classes will be more difficult.
  4. In case you start working, you might not be able to cope with the workload along with studying for your master’s.

Clever Study Tips If You Are Skipping a Gap Year

Despite the seeming advantages of taking a gap year, skipping it is often the wisest choice for people who want to make the most of their lives. This route saves you time, and you can easily overcome any challenges of learning non-stop using a variety of helpful academic tools. However, be conscious that not every way you might be taking is actually a good one. For example, a life-saving writing service might actually become more of a harm, than of a benefit to a struggling student; especially, if chosen improperly it might lead to plagiarism issues.

  • Use efficient note-taking apps.
    Specialized note apps, like Evernote, are great for boosting a student’s productivity. You can use it not only to take notes in class but also to save information in the library or save screenshots of websites directly from the Web. You can also work on your important notes anytime, for example, while traveling to or from work/class.
  • Memorize faster using Anki.
    Anki is an application that allows you to make flash cards and have them pop up on your smartphone/tablet/laptop/desktop all the time. It’s a great aid for effortless memorization that will help you study even while you are working.
  • Look up info at Scientific Research.
    Scientific Research is a web portal full of peer-reviewed articles on a variety of subjects. It’s a fantastic research assistant for any student as it offers information you can’t easily find via Google.

Both skipping and taking a gap year can be a good decision depending on your situation. Using these study tools and tricks is the same. They can help all students, regardless of how much time they have or what their major is. Maximizing your personal efficiency in and out of class will help you succeed in life.

Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn’t stop after years in school and university.

Use Your Language Skills To Earn Pocket Money!

July 13th, 2017

By LINDA ANDERSON

College students spend so much time in front of their computers, mobile phones or iPads watching various TV-shows and movies.

With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that the average amount of unique words a college student uses has grown exponentially in the last few years, meaning that we are becoming linguistically smarter as a whole!

That is all well and good but quite conversely, students often find themselves strapped for cash and in dire need of any sort of money just to survive the following few days.

This doesn’t have to be this way, it is kinda sad to observe that where we have gained in intelligence, we have lost in creativity and innovation.

To fix that image, we will show you that it is possible to make use of your skills if you do the necessary research.

We hope that this little list will inspire you to do some deeper digging of your own so that you too can become an even better and more independent human being!

 

1)    Article Writing

If you have ever written an essay in your life, you will be capable of writing an article.

Research is mostly done by browsing Wikipedia and there are many websites that pay a lot of money to writers.

Why is article writing so in demand you may ask?

Because there aren’t many people actually in the business as it requires the writer to show profound knowledge in the English language.

The most dependable websites for me personally were UpWork and Fiverr, enabling me to go from zero to hero by letting me set the rates.

There is a downside to this, you will have to find the clients on your own but with a bit of diligence on your part, you will most definitely succeed!

 

2)    Translation

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be a polyglot or have extensive knowledge in thirty-six languages.

Your main concern should be whether or not you are capable of speaking English fluently and secondly, if you know the ropes around any other language besides English.

If you have been through high-school you will most likely be acquainted already with a little bit of Italian, German, French or Spanish.

These are all very much in demand and while I was a translator I found that transcription services were always hot and you would always find an odd job or two in that line of work.

 

 

3)    Proofreading

The best way to make money in this world is to find a need, find a reason why that is a need and then try to fill the gap.

This is what we call value.

There is nothing better in this world then earning money from your colleagues, as their laziness and bad attitude force them to pay someone in order to their job for them!

This is where you come into place, offer to proofread their homework, assignments, seminar, essay or anything else.

They will most likely accept as they ‘just can’t be bothered with it’.

After word gets out that you do the dough, your business will expand on its own and you will never have to worry about earning money on the side ever again!

To summarize, there is a lot of talent on our little blue planet and most of it is unused, sadly.

By line for Linda Anderson

I’m a writer and musician residing in Boise, ID in the United States, although I spent a small amount of time (about three years) living in the UK growing up, due to my father’s occupation. I graduated from the College of Idaho with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and a focus in marketing in 2014.

 

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Top 5 Essentials for Your College Road Trip

July 12th, 2017

By CASSIE TOLHURST 

 With the arrival of summer, students across the country are embarking on road trips to explore natural wonders and new cities. If you’re one of these adventurous humans, how do you make sure your trip will create amazing memories instead of being boring or disastrous?

The answer is preparation.

Here are some tips for what to bring and how to plan for the time of your life.

 

  1. Car Maintenance and Supplies

Before putting hundreds of miles on your car, have a mechanic you trust thoroughly inspect it, measure the air pressure in your tires—including the spare— change the oil, test your air conditioner, and investigate any weird little sounds. If you need to have some repairs done, it’s better to find out before you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Safety is paramount, no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing once you get there. In addition to maintaining and repairing your car before your trip, put a well-stocked emergency kit—complete with jumper cables, flashlights, first aid supplies, and so on—in the trunk. You can take several other simple safety precautions as well so your trip is as low-stress as possible and so you can focus on having fun.

 

  1. Technology and Internet Access

Unless you want your road trip to also function as a technology fast, you’ll need to connect to the Internet every now and then. You can use LTE data if necessary, but that tactic can get pricey. Instead, connect to Wi-Fi hotspots when possible.

Is your route taking you off the beaten path? Some phone companies, like AT&T, have apps to help you locate nearby hotspots. Having a mobile hotspot is especially helpful in rural areas where free Wi-Fi may be hard to come by, and luckily, there are more product options now than ever before. Along with car-compatible chargers, these key technology upgrades can make all the difference when you need to download new podcasts on the road or fine-tune your cross-country Spotify playlist (here’s a good example to get you started).

 

  1. Boredom Busters

Let’s face it: driving can get monotonous. If you want to fight off premature yawning and bond with your passengers, play some car games during your drive. Opt for childhood classics like the License Plate Game or Twenty Questions, or try some that are a bit more obscure. Check out this list from BuzzFeed for ideas—one called Fortunately/Unfortunately sounds pretty amazing.

If games aren’t your thing, try some getting-to-know-you questions instead. You can find lists ranging from easygoing to intensely personal. For the ultimate high-risk, high-reward situation, you can even go with “The 36 Questions That Lead to Love.”

 

  1. Snacks and Drinks

You’ll almost certainly need some good snacks along your way; even if you can stop at plenty of convenient places for food, having a supply of snacks can help you cut down on unnecessary stops and reduce your drive time. Some popular options: trail mix, bottled water, string cheese, carrot sticks, grapes, apples, and homemade cookies.

 

  1. Travel Funds

It’s exciting to run off impulsively and throw caution to the wind, but a little budgeting in advance can help you stay on track before, during, and after your trip. How much money do you expect to spend? Are you accounting for gas, food, lodging, and the random souvenirs you plan to pick up along the way? Have you checked into fees for any activities you have planned?

Make sure you have cash on hand and that none of your credit or debit cards are about to expire. You may even want to alert your card company about your travel plans so they know you’ll be using your cards out of state.

Whether you plan to explore national parks, wander a bustling city, or reconnect with old friends and family, your road trip can be one to remember. Buckle down and do a little preparation, then set out on the open road for an amazing trip.

Cassie Tolhurst is a recent grad, freelance writer, and a wannabe world traveler. Her passions include the newest tech gadgets, what’s streaming on Netflix, and the latest rides at Disneyland.

 

 

 

8 Useful Discounts You can Score with Your Student ID

July 11th, 2017

By Martha Karn

Being a student offers a lot more benefits than just a great education with the promise of a great career. While you are a student, your student ID card is your ticket to a lot of awesome discounts, not to mention tons of free stuff. Never be afraid to ask if there is a student discount, because if you have that ID card, you might be able to save a lot of money on books, clothing, and even groceries and other things you use every day. Here are eight cool things you can get with your student ID.

 

  1. Anything on Amazon 

The Amazon Student program lets you get free two-day shipping on eligible items, unlimited digital photo storage, and other awesome offers. This is a free trial period. If you want to upgrade to Amazon Student Prime, you can do it for 50% off the normal price.

 

  1. Clothing 

Many of the most popular clothing stores offer discounts to students who show their student ID cards. Get discounts at Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, J.Crew, Club Monaco, Madewell, and more. Discounts usually range from 10 to 20 percent. Some are online or in-store discounts, while others are online only.

 

  1. Tech 

As a student, you need your tech gadgets, and tech manufacturers and retailers want to make sure that you can afford the gadgets you need. Companies such as Apple offer a variety of student discounts. You can also get better deals on software when you are a student, such as 60 percent off Adobe Creative Cloud (great if you are a design major).

 

  1. Phone Plans 

Chances are that your cell phone is never more than a few feet away, and you likely use it frequently. You need to have an affordable phone plan. Students at eligible schools are eligible for discounts from Sprint and AT&T, with discounts ranging from 10 percent to 23 percent, which can add up to a lot over time.

 

  1. Medicine 

There is likely going to come a time when you need a prescription, and you might be surprised to find out just how expensive most medications are. “Many pharmacies do offer student discounts for prescriptions and other items. There may also be special plans you can get on through your school that will make it cheaper to have prescriptions filled,” says Dr. Pedram Bral.

 

  1. Food 

If you love takeout food, but don’t like the prices, you can still enjoy your favorite treats, and save money by showing your student ID. Many franchises offer student discounts, and you will also find that many locally-owned and operated establishments also offer discounts to their student clientele.

 

  1. Entertainment 

Just because you are a student on a tight budget, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t feel entitled to go out and enjoy yourself once in a while. There are many entertainment venues that offer student discounts. Often, you can find discounts on concerts, plays, etc., and of course, there is often free entertainment happening around campus. Keep your student ID handy when you go out so you can spend less and still have fun.

 

  1. Transportation 

If you own a car, you can use your student ID to get discounts on everything from gas to insurance. To get a discount on insurance, you will need to show proof that you are a student, which generally involves sending in a copy of your transcript. If you are considering buying a car, visit a General Motors dealership and ask about their student discount program. If you don’t want the expense of owning a car, your student ID will save you money on public transportation.

 

Bio:

Martha Karn develops online educational courses and writes for students.