Archive | August, 2014

Freshman Boot Camp Week 4: Syllabus Week

25 Aug

Recent Purdue Graduate Words of wisdom to the class of 2017
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

I’ll be honest.  When you think of that girl in class who has her entire week planned out, even down to what meal she is going to cook on what night, that’s me.

My favorite two days every semester occur during syllabus week, a time when I can write every assignment from every professor for the entire semester.  For all new Boilermakers, syllabus week happens the first week of classes every semester and you review the syllabus in class … for most classes.  Take advance of this time while you are reviewing the semester’s assignments and due dates by completing your planner.

I love planning and I love schedules.  I like to think of my planning addiction as a type of goal setting exercise.  I write what I want to accomplish every week, and it’s not complete until I actually mark the line through it.  That’s actually another one of my greatest joys—crossing off tasks that I want to do after they are finished.  I honestly believe that without weekly goals, I would never get anything accomplished.

Calendar with text overlay: Syllabus Week

Writing things down is a motivation for me because I hate seeing things in my planner that I didn’t get to cross off.  The feeling is comparable to my grandparents saying they are disappointed in me; it’s that serious!  This technique can also be used for long-term goals too, which is basically a glorified way of me saying I want to plan my work outs so I can get my high school body back by the end of summer.

It’s still the same concept, though.  I plan out what I want to do, week by week, to get to my end result.  It worked well for me during college, so I am more than optimistic that it will also work after college.

The things I’ve mentioned for goal-setting are fairly juvenile. I mean, it’s not like I am setting goals for my ten-year plan or anything, even though now that I think about it, I probably should start that soon.

The key aspects of goal setting I have learned through college and personal life are to be realistic with yourself. Don’t tell anyone how much you love to plan things.  Make sure your goals are attainable for you, or else you will get discouraged.  It doesn’t make sense to say you are going to work out for three hours after you get home from work and then cook a five course meal.  That doesn’t even sound enjoyable!  And I’m really stressing here, keep your planning addiction to yourself because people love to mess with you.  They will start inviting you to things, like the bars when they know you have an exam tomorrow morning, just because they know that it will torment you and ruin your chances of getting your goals accomplished for the day.  Just do what I do, think to yourself: “what would my grandparents want me to do”… and you will usually make the right decision.

15 to Finish Indiana

19 Aug

Tuition. Books. Supplies. Parking. Housing.

Every year of college is expensive.

But on average, if you take 15 credits each semester, you’ll have an associate degree in 2 years or a bachelor’s degree in 4. And then, instead of letting the expenses of college drag on for years, you’ll be out in the world using your degree to jumpstart your career, get a better job, and earn more money.

 

Indiana’s 15 to Finish campaign is sponsored by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education in partnership with the state’s colleges and universities.

Freshman Boot Camp Week 3: Purdue ID

18 Aug

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

example Purdue student ID

What is your Purdue ID good for? It’s a student’s personal identification number. It’s how you get into your residence hall, it’s your meal ticket if you have a meal plan, it’s your verification when turning in an exam, it’s verification for offices and require it to see your student account information, and it’s how you ride the bus for free. Not to be dramatic, but you cannot LIVE without your Purdue ID!! Although memorizing the number is highly recommended, there are other reasons to carry around the card with you.

Housing: If you live in the residence halls, this is how you swipe into your building, and potentially even the wing you live on.

dining courtMeal Plan: If you have a meal plan, this is how you swipe into the dining courts. Each swipe counts as a meal. Some dining courts offer meals, like steak, which are called a “double swipe”. Double swipe meals count as two MEALS, so be careful how often you partake! On-the-Go! uses swipes in a similar fashion. On-the-GO! is your carry-out option for dining. Located adjacent to Earhart, Ford and Windsor Dining Courts, On-the-GO! provides a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, salads and snack items. Signs are posted in the On-the-Go! locations stating much each item is worth. You add up all the items until it totals one meal swipe.

Dining Dollars: Dining Dollars are additional meal swipes on top of the meal plan that can be used. These are used more for eating out or in the mini marts around campus. Cary Knight Spot and Harrison Grillé are restaurants on campus that accept student’s Dining Dollars. Restaurants in the Union also accept Dining Dollars. Dining Dollars can purchase other items besides food though. Mini marts also accept Dining Dollars, and while they have food items, school supplies, shampoo, etc. It’s similar to a small convenience store.cary knight spot

Boiler Express: Boiler Express is like a pre-paid debit card. Please note: Boiler Express must be set up separately, I repeat Boiler Express is separate and your refund does not automatically go into a Boiler Express Card. Boiler Express can be used at the same places as Dining Dollars. It can also be used in the laundry facilities. Each residence hall has a laundry room and you can swipe your Purdue ID to use your Boiler Express funds instead of quarters. They do offer a discounted price if you use Boiler Express instead of quarters! Click here, for more information regarding this program.

Discounts and Freebies: You can ride the bus for free with your Purdue ID card. Did you also know that many places offer discounts to students? You never know, flashing your Purdue ID might give you the unexpected, but oh-so coveted discount. Also, many Purdue-sponsored functions (Convocations, Union activities, sporting events, or even resident hall activities) often offer discounts to students which is a good reason to keep your ID on you to verify that you are a student.

The Muggle Bus System

14 Aug

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

Lafayette CitBus

Have you misplaced your Nimbus 2000? Still recovering from a battle with a grindylow? …or is it just too cold to walk? Say hello to the City Bus, the Greater Lafayette area bus system. This bus system is free for all Purdue students. All you need is your Purdue ID and you’re off and running.

The buses have different colored names with a sign at the top of the bus and a colored route on the bus map matching the name to help you determine if that’s the bus you want. Even though you’ll mainly just use the campus and regular loops in West Lafayette, this is not the limit of your map! You can take the bus to Lafayette as well. And if you’re out late at night without your invisibility cloak, there’s no need to fear, there are actually two campus loops that run really late at night (like the Knight Bus for wizards) so you can take the bus home (or back to your car) when it gets dark.

students catching the bus

By: Purdue Student Life

Catching the bus is easy. Just figure out which stop you need to get you where you want to go, stand at the sign, and when you see your bus approaching stick out your wand arm. The bus will stop for you.

Not all of us have a Time Turner and there’s a chance that at some point you’ll be running a little late. There are several ways to see when your bus is coming and when to be at the stop:

Text: There is a bus stop ID on the signs. You just need to text RT4 followed by the bus stop ID and Route to 41411. They will send you the next three departure times via text.

Double Map: Like the Marauder’s Map, double map lets you see a bus’s location in real time. You can use this through the CityBus website or download the Double Map app on your smartphone.

MyRide: This smartphone friendly search allows you to enter in the bus stop number or street names to access information on your bus’s arrival time.

My Bus: This is a little more involved, but it’s a great one to access if you’re in your apartment and don’t have the bus stop number in front of you. Dropdown menus allow you to choose which route you are on and then two additional dropdown menus allow you to choose the direction you’re traveling and which stop you need information for.

There are some stops where pulling the ‘stop’ wire just isn’t needed. So you don’t have to hear that annoying ring, the Ross-Ade bus always stops at the top of the hill for the parking lot. The Silver Loop bus almost always stops at Class of 1950. It’s like magic! All buses will stop at the transfer station across the bridge in Lafayette too.

So the next time you’re in for an adventure and don’t have a hippogriff handy, try out City Bus. It’s much easier to use than you’d think!

Freshman Boot Camp Week 2: Dorm Decor

11 Aug

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

Purdue Dorm Room

Moving to college is a big adjustment! Out on your own, on your own schedule, it’s a massive change, and one often accompanied by homesickness. Decorating your dorm room is a great way to get that “home away from home” feeling and help reduce your home town blues. You can achieve decorating greatness without breaking the bank! Here are some tips on decorating your room.

Talk to your roommate(s):

Who’s bringing what? Do you really need two microwaves, and two fridges, and two futons? Deciding who brings what can really help save on costs and space.

Photo by: Kelli Mullins

Photo by Kelli Mullins

Knick-knacks:

Honestly, dorm rooms are not suite-sized. There is only a finite amount of space within your room or within your space if you are sharing a room. Finding items that double as storage and decoration are often a good bet. For example, decorative jars to store small things on your desk or dresser top.  Not only are you saving money by not buying two separate items, but you also don’t need to buy/rent storage space for any extras.

Added advice: Command Strips are a life saver! Seriously, these things can be used for anything. Add a hook to one for a towel rack, or a necklace hanger. You can also hang wall art without damaging the walls. You would be amazed at all of the things that can be engineered with these things.

Furniture pieces:

Each residence hall comes with a bed, a desk, and a dresser. Do you need a futon and two chairs?  Probably not. Decide early with your roommate who’s bringing what and you can save space, confusion, time, and money. As a personal preference, one futon is awesome instead of two chairs. It’s a space saver and great to nap in…; can you say the same about two chairs?

Flooring:

Believe it or not, all dorm floors at Purdue are tile. In the summer that’s fine, but it can get a little chilly in the winter. While

Photo by:  Debbie Saenz

Photo by: Debbie Saenz

you can purchase a rug from any superstore, one of the best things I did for my dorm room was taking a trip to a carpet store. Left over pieces of carpet rolls are often discounted and buying the “scrap” is a cheap way to get a lot of floor covering and keep your feet warm! When I lived in Windsor, I got padded carpet that was left over from a carpet roll really cheap and it covered my floor completely. It’s definitely something to think about when pricing rugs.

Still lacking decoration inspiration? Check out some of these boards on Pinterest for some ‘pinspiration’ for your dorm this fall: this college’s dorm décor & DIY board, this girl’s dorm DIY board, and this blogger’s dorm décor board. Be sure to share any of your finds or advice below for other readers!

Freshman Boot Camp Week 1: Books

4 Aug

Brandon Endsley, Purdue Alumni
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

college books costs too much

The cost of college today is all over the news.  From every media outlet you can read, watch, or listen to a professional talk about how student loan debt is at an all-time high and tuition and fees are rising faster than inflation.  While this all maybe true, talking about the issues over and over does not help any student attending college.
Pick any college student and they can tell you how the cost of college affects them negatively.  I am going to cover some simple tips students can use to cut their overall college costs by spending less on text books.
Per CollegeBoard.org, in the academic year 2006-2007 the average annual costs of books for a 4 year public university was $942 and that number continues to rise year after year.

1.      Rent if possible.  For the average college course, renting books is cheaper and less of a hassle for buying your textbooks.  Everyone knows that buying a used book is cheaper than buying a new book, but when you go to sell your book back your “buy-back price” is much less than the buy price and in many cases the book store will not even purchase the book back.  Plus, you may have to wait in long lines with unpredictable weather (if you’re in the Midwest) for little recovery of your first investment.  When you rent a book you pay a flat fee and return it by the end of your semester.  If you use an online source like cheapbooks.com or www.chegg.com you can FedEx your text-book back to them within a reasonable time period after your semester ends. Local bookstores may also have an option to rent.

stack of books & coffee cup

Photo by: Raysha Duncan

2.      Look for an older edition of your textbook.  Calculus has not changed in 2000 years, but the story problems have.  I recommend checking with your professor to see if you can buy an older edition.  I took a tax class where the new book was $300 and I refused to pay that price for one text-book.  I bought an edition that was three years older for $0.62 on Amazon and received the updated tax codes (which were the only difference between the two text books) from my professor.

3.      Look for the e-book.  An e-version could be an option offered by the publisher of your text-book.  The online version sells for a fraction of the price of a new or used book.  The only downside of purchasing the e-book version is sometimes there is a limited time frame you can use the text-book.  If you want to keep the book for referring to after the class is over, this may not be the route for you.

4.      GOOGLE it.  It’s not just a phrase but a way of life for most college students.  What will surprise you is how many titles are available on Google books.

5.      Check Craigslist.  Besides garage sales, housing, and boats, you can find used books for sale from students who have taken your class.

6.      Borrow the book from a friend who has previously taken the class. 
 
7.      Share a book with a classmate and split the costs.  In this scenario I would still recommend buying a cheaper book and splitting the cost for even higher savings.

papers and books on desk

Photo by: Raysha Duncan

8.      Check it out of the library.  Your campus library should have the book required by your class.  You may not be able to leave the library with the book, but you could at least get some free studying done… until the library closes that is.

9.      Speak with your professor. A lot of time the department requires a book to be purchased but the professor barely uses the material or provides the material needed in class.  If it is before the semester starts try sending your professor or department head an email asking about the course materials.

Freshman Boot Camp: Crash Course in Preparing for College

4 Aug

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator and Purdue Alumni
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

Drill Sergeant

The start of the school year is quickly approaching (T-minus 21 days) and you probably still have tons of stuff to get ready. Starting college is stressful! How do you buy books?  How do you decorate your dorm? How do you stay organized? Should you go Greek? You’ve got a lot of thoughts going in many different directions and let’s be honest, you’ve heard it from your parents enough already.

We’re going to discuss all the concerns above over the next five weeks to give you a jumpstart on preparation for freshman year.

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