Dorm Room Microwave Meals

College is a huge transition in many of our lives, and it comes with so many amazing (and sometimes stressful) experiences! One of the biggest changes is going from living at home with your parents, to living either in a college dorm room or apartment. Living in a college dorm can be tough on your eating habits because it’s not very conducive to cooking. College dining halls are great, but sometimes you don’t want to get out of the dorm for every single meal! We understand the struggle, so we’ve found several recipes that can be made in your college dorm with just a microwave and mini-fridge! No more late night packets of ramen and spoonfuls of peanut butter!

Breakfast

  1. Overnight Oats – there are so many ways to make overnight oats, and all you need are oats, any type of milk, and whatever toppings you want! Most overnight oat recipes are super simple. All you have to do is combine oats and milk in a 1:1 ratio (½ cup is usually a good breakfast size) and then mix it up with your favorite toppings. That can be berries, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, yogurt, peanut butter…the sky’s the limit!
  2. Microwavable Scrambled Eggs – sounds strange, but it’s so easy and healthy! All you need is a microwave-safe bowl, eggs, and a fork. You can eat it plain or top it with avocado, microwavable bacon, or salsa for a kick!
  3. Blueberry Muffin – classic breakfast recipe you can make in the microwave!

Main dishes

  1. Microwavable Mac and Cheese – ultimate comfort food! You can make this in a mug in less than 5 minutes. It’s also perfect serving size for 1 person!
  2. Baked Potato – that’s right, you can make these right in your microwave! Just pop that potato in the microwave and get your toppings ready – it takes less than 10 minutes!
  3. Vegetarian Burrito Bowl – for when you can’t make it to Chipotle! You can make so many variations of this depending on what toppings you have, but the base is so quick and easy!
  4. Pizza in a Mug – you may seem skeptical, but it’s a college dorm room staple! This recipe gives the basic ingredients, but you can jazz it up with whatever toppings your heart desires.

Sweet Treats

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookie – for those nights you can’t get rid of your sweet tooth! Learn how you can make a homemade cookie in just a couple minutes.
  2. Strawberry Pop Tart – this could be a breakfast, but also satisfies late night cravings! Just like a pop tart, it has a sugary outer layer and jam-filled center – you could try any flavor of jam to mix it up!
  3. Coffee Cake – an indulgent treat you can make in a mug! And who doesn’t love coffee at all times of the day?

Test Anxiety? How to Relax and Stay Focused

The end of the semester is drawing near and summer is right around the corner! The only thing standing between you and binging on Netflix at the beach is one thing: final exams. The week of finals is always stressful and can cause anxiety in many college students. Last week, we gave tips on how to stay organized and prep for finals. This time, we have some specific ways to get rid of that test anxiety in the hours leading up to your exams! Here are 9 ways to relax and reduce your stress right before you take that test.

1. Make sure you’re eating right. Too much caffeine, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and heavy preservatives right before your exam can make you tired and sluggish, and affect your memory negatively. Instead, opt for fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other healthy snacks and meals for the hours leading up to the exam. And don’t go to the test on an empty stomach! Make sure you eat a good meal beforehand.

2. Get some sleep! This goes without saying, but it’s important to get enough sleep before an exam. Cramming for 12 hours straight is only going to make you more tired and groggy.

3. Stop working/studying at least 30 minutes before going to bed the night before the test. Put away your laptop and phone: the blue lights from these screens can mess with your sleep cycle and make it harder to sleep. You’ll feel more refreshed in the morning!

4. Take a bath with Epsom salts. Epsom salt has magnesium sulfate, which helps promote calmness and relaxation.

5. Try aromatherapy! Essential oils like lavender, lemon, bergamot, clary sage, and jasmine are great for relaxing those nerves and clearing your mind. There are several ways you can use essential oils:

  • Put a few drops in your bath or shower.
  • Use a diffuser so that the oils are diffused all through the room.
  • Apply it directly onto your body, such as around your temple or your wrist. Be careful when you do this because undiluted oils are very strong and can irritate the skin. Make sure you have essential oils that are diluted in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil.

6. Focus on your breathing. It may sound silly, but deep breathing exercises can really help calm your mind. When you’re stressed, you often take short, shallow breaths and are not getting proper oxygen amounts through your blood. The next time you feel anxious, stop and take a few moments to inhale and exhale deeply. Repeat this breathing exercise (or find some other ones here) several times until you feel more calm.

7. Stretching and yoga can actually help calm your mind by releasing tension that’s built up in your muscles. Take a few minutes the night before your exam and the day of to really stretch out your muscles. You can even try a few yoga poses suggested here!

8. Treat yourself! The day before the exam, go get something small or do a short activity that you find enjoyable. This could be a sweet treat, a walk around the park, or whatever will help you relax and feel special.

9. Think positive! This is sometimes easier said than done, but part of why you may be so stressed is because you keep thinking of the worst that could happen. Instead of psyching yourself out, try to stay positive and surround yourself with people who will cheer you up and keep you optimistic. Remember, it’s just one exam and it’ll be over soon!

How to De-Stress and Prep for Finals

We all know what typical college life looks like the week of final exams: tons of students holed up in the library till 3am with a double shot of espresso in one hand, and a textbook in the other. Final exams bring a feeling of instant fear and pressure to most college students, but it doesn’t have to be this way! Below is a list of ways to help you de-stress and prepare for that dreaded finals week. Just remember, summer is right around the corner!

Get organized!

Often, we don’t take time to organize our schedule and study time and it leaves us feeling rushed and panicked. Before finals week rolls around, take some time to organize your notes, create a schedule for studying and exams, and even put together some study groups and schedule meeting times. Finals will seem much less stressful when you’re organized and prepared!

Exercise, or spend time outside.

When we exercise, our bodies naturally release endorphins which help you calm down and defeat stress! Don’t stay isolated inside the whole time; fresh air can do wonders and clear your head.

Make sure you sleep!

A huge college cliche is pulling all-nighters to cram for exams. This is very unhealthy and leaves you feeling drained and unmotivated. Getting sleep actually helps solidify the material you’ve studied, and you’ll feel refreshed instead of stressed. Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night!

Find something that helps you clear your head.

This could be music, meditation, yoga, massages, herbal tea, or anything that helps calm you down and get out of the frenzied mindset. Take a break for just 10 minutes and do whatever you find relaxing.

Plan your meals!

When it comes to finals week, the last thing you’re thinking about is cooking. Usually, that means fast food for 3 meals a day! This will only make you feel more sluggish and have sugar crashes throughout the week (not to mention take a huge toll on your wallet). Instead, take some time in advance to meal prep. This could be as simple as making tons of sandwiches and setting aside baggies of fruit, vegetables, and chips to grab and go! It will bring you relief knowing your food is taken care of and you don’t have to spend money.

Stay hydrated!

Your brain works best when it is hydrated. If you haven’t had enough water, or you’ve had too much caffeine and sugary drinks, you’ll feel more and more tired and distracted. Get a reusable water bottle and keep it filled at all times!

Don’t procrastinate on other assignments.

Some classes have final projects or essays due around the same time as finals, but you have weeks (or even months) to complete those. Don’t wait until the last minute to finish those assignments, on top of studying for exams!

Use positive self-talk!

What is your attitude like during finals week? Are you constantly negative and put a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself to get perfect scores? Your mindset going into finals can be what’s stressing you out the most! Practice changing your attitude and using positive self-talk: it’s like having an optimistic voice in your head all the time, making you feel good and confident in yourself. There are actually studies that show that positive self-talk strengthens your performance and well-being!

Hopefully these tips can help you prepare for finals and not take as much anxiety with you. Always remember the bigger picture and what you’re working towards! It will all be worth it in the end!

20 Tips for Thriving in Your First Semester

College is an exciting time in your life, and with the excitement comes a lot of change! For most people, it is the first time to live away from your family and be responsible for yourself. Your freshman year is important for building relationships, setting the pace for school work, and growing good habits for the rest of your college career! Here are 20 tips to get you started and on the right path for a successful first semester

  1. Go to orientation. There is a ton of information given at orientation about the campus, classes, various organizations, and helpful resources. The more you know at the beginning, the more comfortable you’ll be!
  2. Explore the campus. Do this before your first day so you know where your classes are and where the major spots on campus are – food places, the library, the gym, student centers, and more.
  3. Get organized! Time management and organization is crucial to keeping everything balanced and orderly. A good, old-fashioned planner is worth investing in to keep you on track! There are apps to help with this, such as MyHomework Student Planner and Trello. Binders and notebooks are great for separating and organizing all of your courses. Google Drive is a lifesaver when it comes to group assignments and backing up your work!
  4. Go to class! I mean, you are paying for it! Avoid the temptation to sleep through that Monday morning 8am class. You’ll be more prepared for tests and assignments, and receive important information from the professor about upcoming stuff.
  5. Use the syllabus. Print off the syllabus or have it easily accessible. This will help you know requirements for the course and due dates for assignments and tests.
  6. Figure out your learning style. Having a good understanding of how you best learn will make you more confident in studying and help you find ways to improve your study habits. Learn more about this in our recent blog post!
  7. Take notes. Find a system for note-taking that works well for you, and stick to it.
  8. Meet your professors. They can put a name to the face, and you’ll feel more comfortable with asking questions throughout the semester. Learn their office hours so you can go if you need extra help.
  9. Have a plan for course registration. Trust me, this time of year can get cutthroat. Talk with your academic advisers often and have a game plan for registering for classes so that you know exactly what to do when it opens. Also, have backup plans for if a class is too full. You don’t want to extend your time in college by another semester or 2 because you didn’t prepare for registration!
  10. Get involved in campus. Explore the various school organizations and find a couple you want to try out. Don’t overwhelm yourself: stick to just a 1-2 that you are passionate about. There are organizations for everyone, so you can definitely find something you’re interested in. These are a great way to build friendships that last all through college!
  11. Find good college student deals. There are so many deals available for college students! Some good ones are UNiDAYS, which offers tons of discounts at local and online store; Spotify Premium has a discount for students; and there are often local apps with food and retail store deals. Also, get great discounts on your textbooks at www.textbooksolutions.com!
  12. Make friends with students in your classes. That way you always have a study buddy or someone to share notes with!
  13. Don’t procrastinate! Procrastinating until 11:00pm on your homework can spiral out and become a habit. Don’t let it get to that point! Use time in between classes to get ahead instead of watching Netflix, or set aside an hour each evening for schoolwork.
  14. Stay healthy and eat right. Don’t get caught up in the lazy Ramen and McDonalds phase of college life. There are plenty of ways to eat right on a budget, you just have to take the time to plan out your meals and snacks and find what works best for you. Take vitamins, get enough sleep, and find ways to stay active – whether it’s going on walks at your local park or using a free gym service at your campus.
  15. Talk to your parents often. Set an alarm on your phone to call your mom and dad once or twice a week – it will mean the world to all of you to stay in touch!
  16. Keep track of your money! Start a budget if needed, or just monitor your bank accounts. If you have a credit card, be smart with it – don’t spend money that you don’t have.
  17. Limit social media time. It is hard to resist the urge, but you can maximize your study time if you don’t get on Facebook or Instagram every 10 minutes. It can also take away time you could use to experience new things and form new friendships.
  18. Find a balance. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the new experiences, but you have to find a way to balance your social life and academics. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help if you need it.
  19. Make time for you! Find hobbies or relaxing activities that make you happy and take time to do them a couple times a week
  20. Stay positive! College may seem stressful and full of change, but it’s an exciting time of life! You can make the choice to be positive and not let situations bring you down.

Resources

https://www.livecareer.com/career/advice/jobs/first-year-success

https://www.collegexpress.com/articles-and-advice/student-life/blog/10-tips-how-survive-and-thrive-your-first-year-college/

https://collegeinfogeek.com/42-things-i-learned-freshman-year/

What Kind of Learner Are You?

How do you learn best? Is it by taking notes on your professor’s lecture in class, going through flash cards of information, or maybe by getting some hands-on practice? You have probably seen that there are many different ways that people learn information, and not everyone uses the same methods. Maybe you’ve wondered how your roommate can study for their exam when they are blaring loud music, or how someone could possibly concentrate on a textbook while sitting still in the same position for 2 hours! There is no one-size-fits-all answer for learning, and there are hundreds of studying tactics to help you. Research by an educator named Neil Fleming suggests that there are 4 main categories of learners: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. These are called learning styles! Learning styles are important because they help you better understand what environment you work best in, and how to ensure that you study well to make that “A”!

Visual Learners

Do you like seeing graphs and charts in a textbook that better explain the content? Do you remember things best when you can see them, such as on a flashcard or diagram? You might be a visual learner! Visual learners would rather see information given in a visual form, such as graphs, videos, handouts, or images. You may often find yourself closing your eyes to picture a random fact, or are distracted easily when listening to a lecture where there is nothing to look at.

Tips and Tricks for Visual Learners:

  • Avoid studying or working in areas where there is a lot of movement or things to visually distract you.
  • Create flashcards to learn new things.
  • Highlight or color code important information.
  • Find or make your own diagrams, lists, charts, or drawings of what you are trying to learn.

Auditory Learners

Different from visual ones, auditory learners learn best when they can hear information. Do you remember things better when you say them out loud? Do you enjoy bouncing ideas off of professors or fellow classmates? These may be signs that you are an auditory learner! These learners would rather listen to a lecture or to a recording than read a textbook. It may be helpful for you to read words out loud to memorize them, or to ask questions and verbalize your thought process.

Tips and Tricks for Auditory Learners:

  • Sit where you can hear the lecture or class.
  • Repeat facts or vocabulary words out loud to yourself.
  • Have a friend read you practice questions and answer them out loud.
  • Record class lectures or review sessions so you can play them back later.

Reading/Writing Learners

Have you always done better in school when teachers use PowerPoints with their notes or when you write important information down? If so, you are probably a reading/writing learner! This is exactly what it sounds like: you learn better when things are displayed as words or when you write them yourself. Reading a textbook or PowerPoint slide is more effective for these learners than hearing or seeing.

Tips and Tricks for Reading/Writing Learners:

  • It may seem straightforward, but take notes during lectures or while reading a textbook!
  • Make your notes in bullet form, and only include important points: you will retain it better if notes are in condensed, “bite-size” pieces.
  • Work in a quiet area where nothing will distract you from your reading.
  • Practice for tests with multiple choice questions.

Kinesthetic Learners

“Kinesthetic” means motion or movement. Kinesthetic, or tactile, learners thrive when they get hands-on practice and can physically apply what they are learning. If you find that you need to take frequent breaks during lectures to move around, love working with manipulatives when in class, and learn best by doing something, then kinesthetic learning is for you! You tend to learn best when some sort of movement is involved, rather than by hearing or seeing information.

Tips and Tricks for Kinesthetic Learners:

  • Participate in hands-on activities like art, building things, acting out, or moving/manipulating objects.
  • Give yourself study breaks where you can stretch or walk around to clear your mind.
  • Trace words, letters, or numbers that relate to what your studying to better remember.
  • Work in study groups and review by playing various trivia games or asking questions.

Remember, not everybody falls into one box! You may find tips from multiple categories useful. Whatever your learning style(s) are, find what helps YOU learn best!

Resources