Category Archives: Lifestyles

Tips for Staying Organized Throughout College

by Jessy Stanavage

We have all been there; standing among piles of clothes that clutter the floor and a disorganized desk piled high with books, papers and the sunglasses you lost last week. It’s a cringe-worthy sight for people who thrive on organization but for many of us, it doesn’t come naturally.

While disorganization is sometimes inevitable for all, with persistence and simple organizational techniques avoiding it possible. If the new semester has sparked your desire to get organized, here are a few easy organizational tips to conquer any state of disarray.

Write it down: Often the smallest details can slip our minds, whether it is the date of an upcoming exam or a reminder to write a paper. Writing down assignments, exam dates and minor tasks can help organize your life by providing structure and direction. For Leah Carpenter, a junior at Central Connecticut State University, writing everything from homework to her work schedule in a planner is the best advice she can give.

“I feel like when I write things down I am unpeeling it from my mind,” said Carpenter. Using a planner, desk calendar and sticky notes are excellent ways to begin recording your daily to-do lists and stay up to date with assignments. Having trouble keeping track of all your papers and where your pens are? Downloading apps such as iStudeiez Pro or PlannerPlus will eliminate the hassle of paper and will develop your schedule virtually.

Develop a habit: CCSU sophomore Eleonora Ciarcia follows a simple routine to stay organized.

“I write everything down in class and during my breaks or when I get home I organize it,” said Ciarcia. Developing a routine is important in organization, especially when adapting to a more organized lifestyle. If your life is incredibly disorganized, do not attempt to conquer it all at once. Begin by implementing small changes into your daily routine to establish a habit, then slowly expand your efforts. For example, to maintain a more orderly room, try cleaning as you go. A daily de-clutter before you go to bed or leave your room is simple and prevents the infamous and dreaded time-consuming cleaning binges. Better yet, after using an item, instead of piling it on your desk put it away immediately.

Strategize storage: It’s incredibly frustrating to search through all your drawers and explore the depths of your closet and still not find what you need. Strategizing and labeling storage eliminates desperate searches for lost items. When storing items in bins, group them according to their function – for example, a drawer with writing tools and stationary. Consider keeping the items you use most often close and in easily accessible places rather than sticking them on an out-of-reach shelf. Most importantly when packing away your things; be sure to label. While the task may seem tedious at first, it makes finding things much easier in the long run.

Utilize your phone: As students, we spend a great deal of our time on our phones and many of us are more inclined to use our phone than physically writing things down. In fact, there are countless apps available at our fingertips to make organization more manageable and convenient. For example, Mint is an all-in-one money management app to help with all aspects of your finances. You can develop a personalized budget and manage your bank accounts all in one app. Have you ever found an interesting article you want to save for later? The app Pocket enables you to archive articles and read them when you find the time. If you find yourself procrastinating by surfing the Internet, there is also an app for that. RescueTime, available for your computer and mobile devices, monitors and records time spent on specific websites and provides you with detailed data based on your activity. One of RescueTime’s most notable features is that you can block distracting websites during times you need to focus. Mint, Pocket and RescueTime are just a few helpful tricks to successfully organize various areas in your life.

The Takeover of the Internet

by Sheridan Cyr

Two weeks ago, Macy’s announced that it would be closing 36 locations around the U.S., including the store located at Enfield Square in Enfield, Conn., in response to in-store sales declines this holiday season. In line with the closings, around 4,500 employee positions will be eliminated.

According to a USA Today article from early January, “An average of three to four positions at each of approximately 770 Macy’s and Bloomingdale stores,” and “about 3,000 associates will be affected.”

The article offers one possible reason for the closures being the “warm” season, citing that customers were not rushing in for scarves, jackets, boots and other winter outerwear. However, what it really comes down to and they are reluctant to face, is that in-store sales are just not convenient anymore. The whole world has turned their business to online pursuits, and Macy’s is no different.

After rent, lighting, heat payments, cleanliness and repair costs, it’s expensive to operate a store. With more consumers shifting their shopping to phones and laptops, shopping centers are going vacant while maintenance payments are still required.

In a January 2015 Forbes article, Tim Worstall wrote that 12 percent of stores on High Street, a comparative downtown shopping area in his native home of Britain, were vacant. As this article was written more than a year ago, it’s important to consider these numbers presently.

Worstall used information provided by The New York Times to display his point. “About 80 percent of the country’s 1,200 malls are considered healthy, reporting vacancy rates of 10 percent or less. But that compares with 94 percent in 2006, according to CoStar Group, a leading provider of data for the real estate industry.”

“Nearly 15 percent are 10 to 40 percent vacant, up from five percent in 2006. And 3.4 percent — representing more than 30 million square feet — are more than 40 percent empty, a threshold that signals the beginning of what Mr. Busch of Green Street calls “the death spiral,” added Worstall.

He also noted that according to Green Street Advisors, a company that tracks the mall industry, more than two dozen strip malls have been closed since 2010 and at least an additional 60 are “on the brink.”

Macy’s is not the only shopping center closing stores due to this issue of in-store vacancy; according to a Cincinnati Business Courier article from last week, K-Mart and Walmart will be closing several locations by spring as well, citing similar reasoning.

It appears the Internet has won yet again.

Keys to Staying Healthful Throughout College and Beyond

by Lauren Lustgarten

The Freshmen 15 is something none of us wanted to experience as we enter our first year of college. But it’s also something that we aren’t exactly sure how to avoid either. From eating home cooked meals and being forced to eat our veggies growing up, to having to eat at the dining hall three or more times a day, our diets can go south really quick – continuing to be healthful can prove to be a challenge throughout college.

As the years move on and maybe you moved to an off-campus house where you now have to buy your own food, you realize just how expensive fruits, vegetables and anything “green” can be. As a broke college student, you then have to decide what’s more important: a healthy diet or money. Tough choice. But, with just a few simple changes and a different mindset, a healthy lifestyle can be easy to start and maintain – even for a broke and busy college student.

Planned diets like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig tend to get expensive and very tedious. As a student with a hectic schedule, the last thing you have time for is tracking all the meals you ate that day and tallying up your “points” to see what else you can eat. Some of the best weight loss results in college students come from just a healthy lifestyle type of diet. Here are the recommendations given by a dietitian and tested by college students:

First and foremost, you should meet with an on-campus dietitian (i.e. a nurse or any health professional) and they can educate you and guide you toward a healthy diet and weight. You can work with that dietitian to find a meal plan that works for you, considering your daily schedule and dining options.

It is also important that you eat regular and consistent, healthful meals during the day. That includes taking small snacks with you to long classes or study sessions so you stay energized and awake. We always need small snacks throughout the day. For the occasions when you don’t have enough time to make it to the dining hall before class, you should stock your dorm room/bedroom with healthy foods or quick meals. 

Staying hydrated is key to all. Carry a refillable water bottle throughout the day, set a goal for yourself on how much water you want to consume and reach it!

If you’re truly committed to keeping this diet going, limiting alcohol consumption is a must. Especially in college students, alcohol is a common source of extra calories. Alcohol also leads to late night snacking, which adds a significant amount of calories to your day and can cause weight gain or slow weight loss. 

Being physically active at college is essential. Take advantage of the free on-campus gyms that the school provides for you. Aiming for 150 minutes of cardio each week and two days of strength training will really aid in seeing results.

Managing your weight in college can be very hard to do, between classes, sports, trying to find time to exercise and working if you have a job. But all in all, making sure that you get eight to ten hours of sleep every night is key to maintaining a healthy weight and also helps with your memory, study habits, grades and managing stress. There are an infinite number of reasons for why high stress levels are common in college students. Managing and addressing your stress is very important. Stress is not good on your body and it can also lead to increased snacking and the increased consumption of junk food.

There are many ways that college students can unintentionally forget about their diet and lose focus of the bigger picture. On the flip side, there are also many ways that you don’t need to worry about keeping track of a diet if you fill your mind with the right nutritional information and if you fill your stomach with good, less fatty foods. Taking the steps mentioned above will give you the best possible results for a better, healthier lifestyle for a very little amount of money.

Miles and Memories: The Value of the Road Trip


by Chris Marinelli 

This past spring break, eight of my friends and I crammed into two cars and set our sights on Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Now having completed the 24-hour trek down the east coast, I have a brand-new outlook on how much fun living can be.

The trip started out on complete impulse; my close friend Victor brought the idea of all of us driving to an apartment his family owns in Fort Lauderdale to me two weeks before spring break. After a couple days of planning and sorting out all the details, I packed my bags the second I was done with midterms, and looked forward to palm trees.

Hitting the road was one of the most exciting moments of the trip. We were a mixture of close friends, strangers and acquaintances. We packed all of our things, went to Walmart and bought some walkie-talkies, which would be subject to cruel puns throughout the trip, planned out the driving schedule and set off on the road.

The walkie-talkies proved to be a valuable asset through the trip, both for comical purposes as well as practical. Driving through New York became a maze of us following the other car, which was made considerably easier through the quick contact the walkie-talkies provided.

On a more comical note, from the second we started driving, we made up code names for each car. We were “dragon fruit” while the other car became “blueberry.” These changed consistently throughout the trip, including names such as “palm tree” and “coconut.”

When driving for 24 hours straight, boredom inspires you to discover more ways to laugh than you can count.

One of the funniest moments was when we had the ingenious idea to start blasting Disney songs that you can’t help but sing along to. I can only imagine the looks we received from other cars as we belted out the chorus of “Under The Sea” and “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You.”

Being confined for over a day forces you to find new ways to sleep that you would have deemed impossible before. I fell asleep sitting up with my hands folded, my head against the window, and once with my head on my friend Carlos’ shoulder. These interesting sleeping positions inspire hilariously humiliating photographs of our friends cuddling and snoring in the backseat.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of being part of a long journey are the unbreakable bonds of friendship. Through being with each other for such a long period of time, we opened up and told stories and confessions that created intimate friendships and memories that will last forever. Being confined in a tiny car traveling hundreds of miles creates the opportunity to learn who your friends are, and what trials and tribulations they have gone through in their lives.

Through these newly-formed connections you also learn new things about yourself. Being with people who are opening up about their lives creates a new level of empathy that can only exist between a group of close friends. Moments like these are rare and irreversible. They are what make a road trip worth it.

I truly recommend driving across the country with a group of friends. As my brother said to me when I got home, “These are now your memories. You’ll never forget the time you got to spend with those people.” While planes are nice, the convenience does not replace the memories that can be built during a drive across the country.

Travel Survival for Students: Budget a Disney Trip Without Going Broke

Inexpensive Travel How To. Destination: Disney World By: Arianna Cecchini

Growing up, every child dreams of going to Disney World; why wouldn’t you want to go? Mickey Mouse, Cinderella’s Castle, food, specialty shops, music, parades, fireworks, rides – it’s truly a magical experience. Being in college, clearly money is an issue to most students, and Disney World would seem out of most students’ budget, but Disney can be an affordable, fun trip for college students too. Disney has amenities that can eliminate costs and dramatically drop the price of a trip. Getting to Disney for under $500 dollars is easy to do for a few days.

Most students would eliminate Disney as a vacation option from the get go because being under the age of 25, you cannot rent a car. Conveniently, Disney offers free transportation service to, and from, the Orlando International Airport, on their Magical Express Bus. It picks passengers right up from their terminal and brings each party to the front lobby of their respective hotel.

It is a quick 30 minute ride where they play a fun Disney video for passengers. Disney then offers free bus transportation from each hotel to each location in Disney; whether it be a theme park, water park, another hotel, or Downtown Disney. Wherever a traveler wants to go on Disney Property, the bus will take the passenger – and pick them up, without any charge. It is fast and convenient for passengers not to worry about the cost of renting a car, or the stress of driving in a unfamiliar area.

Disney also has an array of hotels and resorts on their property, some very expensive and luxurious – others cheap, yet still fun to stay in. For college students, Disney offers three hotels: All Star Music, Sports and Movies which are on average around $90-100 a night.

That is cheaper than most hotels anywhere and this is on official Disney grounds. The rooms are a good size with two full beds, a TV, a shower, and the hotels all have pools, gift shops, as well as food courts. The price can be as low as $25 dollars per night for the maximum of 4 people per room when divided by how many people are traveling. A stay at Disney can be affordable for anyone to do – especially college students, who don’t have excessive money on their hands.

The flight, is typically the majority of the expense on a Disney vacation, but does not have to be. There are ways to avoid getting hit with large flight expenses. One tip is when to buy the tickets. Airlines post their sales on Tuesdays around 3pm so flight prices tend to be the cheapest around that time until about Thursday morning when the prices are raised for the weekends.

The worst days to buy airline tickets are Sundays and Monday; generally when they are the highest priced. Jetblue, Southwest, and Airtran tend to have the cheapest prices, whereas Delta and American Airlines are known for ripping off their customers. An easy way to compare prices quickly and easily is by utilizing Hotwire or Expeida. These sites offer the best prices and times for flights. Using sites like these can possibly save hundreds of dollars, which most college students do not have to waste.

Lastly, if a family member, or the purchaser themselves, is a member of AAA or AARP, usually discounts are given, which can save loads of money.  To get round trip airfare non-stop for about $210 dollars is not difficult to accomplish if you actually sit down and use the mentioned techniques to save the money. Disney World is only a short flight away, and it doesn’t need to be a trip that empties the bank account.

When people think Disney World they often think of over-priced admission charges into the 4 major theme parks. Yes, Disney just hit an all time high with pricing: a charge of $100 dollars a person per day for only one theme park, but this can be avoided with a little elbow grease. If someone wants to hit three parks over their stay in Disney, they should consider purchasing the 3-day park pass. This cuts down the price of each day by about 15 dollars. The pass might cost roughly around $250 but if divided by the 3 days the cost per day is less than $100 dollars.

Disney offers this for 2-10 days, and the more days one stays, the cheaper the offer ends up being per day. The passes have a no expiration add-on for a low price, so the ticket can be used until the days bought expire. Sometimes it is cheaper and more cost efficient to buy the no expiration pass, if not the days must be used within 14 days from the first day of purchase.

As much as Disney can seem expensive to enter, buying the right tickets and making the right moves while planning is essential, and is where people can save money.

The food in Disney is unlike that of any other theme park; it is actually tasty, and Disney offers so many different locations and options. In Magic Kingdom there is a burger joint in the back by the Tomorrow Land Speedway, where one can get a bacon cheeseburger with French fries and a soda for about $9. In Hollywood Studios there is a café similar to this one, tucked back by the StarTours ride, which offers the same type of deals for good fast food. All of the parks have these small, off-the map, cafes, that are great for budgeting money.

Another trick about Disney is to know that there are water fountains everywhere. There is no charge for continually refilling your water bottles. The Mickey Pop Ice Cream bar on the other hand is $3.75 and is worth every penny, so spend the money and try one. Other than that, food really is not overly expensive, or something to worry about, in Disney, like it can be in other parks. They realize it is a lot of money to travel their and to get in the parks, so they tend not to rip off their visitors with the food costs, which helps us college students who have a tight budget.

Disney can be an affordable trip for any college student who is looking to get away to a fun, warm place with some friends. There are so many ways to save money and to get there and back for $500 dollars is totally doable; sometimes it can even cost less depending on the time of year one is going. Disney is the most magical place on earth, highly recommended for a group of people or a couple, it will not let you down. It is Disney World after all.