Archive | November, 2014

Thank$giving Weekend

24 Nov

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna

people desperately entering store on Black Friday

Photo by:

Let’s talk about the biggest holiday shopping day of the year. Black Friday. This day was originally known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season and has now become the biggest event of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend…after Thanksgiving, of course.

While the turkey is in the oven and Mom is madly mixing mashed potatoes and Dad and Uncle Joe are watching football, the ads for Black Friday sit on the table…waiting. There’s something in them for everyone! The annual Toys’R’Us ultimate wish list, the Macy’s blow-out sale and the Kohl’s early bird specials. And, best of all, in the past couple years these sales are now starting Thanksgiving Day! So now, right after Thanksgiving dinner you can change into your comfy pants and load everyone into your aunt’s minivan to go hit the sales, leaving the young and uninterested ones behind to fend for themselves on leftovers. And for those who aren’t interested in heading out Thanksgiving night, the 4AM sales still exist! Don’t feel like leaving the house? That’s fine! Cyber Monday now extends from Black Friday to the “traditional” Cyber Monday (aka the Monday after Thanksgiving)!

Regardless of how you’ll be spending your Thanksgiving weekend, here are some things to keep in mind in relation to your holiday shopping:

Everybody’s After the Same Deals

man waiting in line with giant TV

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Don’t be that person who makes it on the news by tackling someone’s grandma (…or worse, really people?) for a slow cooker. It’s not worth it. Check out all the deals in your ads before heading out because chances are that more than one superstore in town has slow cookers on sale. Accept that you may not get what you want at the first store and move on. And, don’t forget you can always go back home and look for one online if you really can’t find it. Make a plan for when you go out shopping and have a goal for what you absolutely must have, then go for the wants. Split up to maximize your shopping potential.

Dedication for Sales

man waiting in line with giant TV

Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images

Every year in Lafayette there is a line that starts outside the local Best Buy at least 12 hours before the sale is going to start. These people will park themselves outside, regardless of rain/snow/sun, and wait because they really want to get that big screen/gaming system/laptop/tablet. Unless you are willing to be one of these people for one of the big ticket items, you can almost count on not getting that big ticket item. Only the dedicated will succeed (or the ones who find a similar deal online in the days after).

Thanksgiving is Not About the Sales

It’s about family and giving thanks for another great year. It’s really easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting good deals on presents for yourself and the ones you love, but it’s also about spending time with loved ones, not just buying them things. And sometimes these two things really do go hand-in-hand! I loved Black Friday shopping in my tweens because it was a family thing. My mom would wake up extra early to warm up the van, my sister slept in her clothes to maximize sleep time, and I barely slept out of excitement. We’d get to the local superstore and meet my mom’s best friend and her daughter, hit those sales and then travel down to Lafayette for the BIG shopping event: Toys’R’Us and the mall. And it was the first day that holiday music played on the radio.

shopping mall on Black Friday

Photo by: Vytis1

I love the excitement and family time that comes with the Thanksgiving weekend, and that includes Black Friday! But, I think it’s important to keep family first still because the things that you buy don’t really matter as much as the memories you make with your family during the holidays.

So by all means, go get some deals this Thursday-Sunday, but don’t make it your absolute number one priority of the holiday.


Does your family have any fun traditions around Thanksgiving and Black Friday? Share below!

Graduation Bucket List

17 Nov

Leah Steppe, Purdue Student – Public Relations and Advertising, Peer Counselor

graduation cap

Whether you’re starting your first day at Purdue or finishing up your last semester, these are some traditions you should take part in before you walk across the stage in your cap and gown.

  1. Boiler Traditions

It is said if you walk under the bell tower you will not graduate in 4 years so be sure you wait until after you have your diploma in hand. Some also say if you kiss your true love at midnight then you will get married or when a couple walks under the bell tower after graduation they will get engaged.

Fun Fact: If you look closely you will notice the “4” on the clock face is actually“IIII” instead of the Roman number “IV”. This is because the Roman numeral “IV” resembles Indiana State University’s abbreviation “IU” and Purdue does not want anything on their campus to represent their rival.students running through fountain

Whether you’re celebrating your first week of college, the end of finals week, or graduation a fountain run is always a good way to do it (might be difficult for you December grads). A fountain run involves running around in Loeb Fountain, which is located next to Beering Hall, and then running across campus to the Engineering Fountain. It is a great way to cool off and celebrate with friends!

  1. Grand Prix Race

Grand Prix is a week-long event filled with parties, activities, costumes, and more. It all ends with the annual Grand Prix race where several people compete in a Go-Kart race in cars they built themselves. This is a week everyone talks about for years to come and many alumni will come back just to celebrate and partake in this tradition.

  1. Football! Boiler Up, Hammer Down!


Whether it’s at Ross-Ade or Mackey Arena you need to attend at least one rivalry game during your time at Purdue. IU is Purdue’s biggest rivalry so these games are sure to always be exciting. Within the first quarter you will learn there are many traditions within sports itself.  Quietly watch your peers and join in once you get the hang of it, participation just increases your comradery and the entertainment value exponentially.

The football game is known as the Old Oaken Bucket because Purdue and IU compete for the trophy (which is literally an old oaken bucket) with this name each year. No matter which type of game you attend, a Purdue vs. IU game will be memorable. Spirits are high those days and it is a great day to show your Boilermaker pride and help show that we are better than Hoosiers.

Once you are of age, you will want to make sure you participate in Breakfast Club at least once before graduation.  Imagine walking down State Street early one Saturday morning and seeing Mario and Luigi, some Disney Princesses, and Superman. But it’s not even October yet. No, it’s Breakfast Club! Every Saturday morning of a home football game and the Saturday of Grand Prix students of age partake in this crazy tradition. Students dress up in creative costumes and line up outside the bars starting at about 5 or 6 in the morning and keep partying until the game, or race on Grand Prix, starts.

  1. Go Sledding at Slayter Hill

Winter takes up a huge chunk of the time while students are in classes at Purdue. A great way to celebrate the first snow, finals being done, or just a weekend with friends is sledding down Slayter Hill. Don’t have a sled? No problem! You can use a laundry basket, mattress, pool toys, or even a tray from the dining courts (although it is not encouraged to steal the trays, some are usually laying around the bottom of the hill during the winter). Get creative with your sledding device and slide down Slayter Hill.

  1. students filling up fountain pops

    Photo By: Purdue Marketing & Media

    Have a Den Pop

If you have 60 cents you can do this one now! Den Pops are sodas that are as big as your head. You get them from the Discount Den and on the wall is a list of creatively named recipes for different Den Pop flavors to create. Or, if the creative juices are flowing, you can create a unique drink and your own recipe. These are a great way to cool down during those last few weeks of class, a refreshing drink after a hard exam, or really anytime!

These are just a few of the many traditions Purdue has. Look around for more to add to your bucket list or create your own with your friends. Boiler Up!

Dinner Party 101

10 Nov

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

Person filling plate from buffet

Photo by: Jules Morgan

So you want to host a dinner party. Perhaps it’s your turn to do Thanksgiving dinner, or maybe you’re just wanting a good time. Don’t stress out! Dinner parties can be a lot of fun, and they don’t need to cost an arm and a leg to have a good time! Below are some tips and ideas on how to stretch a budget and have a fantastic party.

Do you need an appetizer? Depending on the meal, you most likely don’t. But, this is a great way to get others involved! They can bring chips and other snack items for after the meal when you’re playing games or watching a movie. Asking your guests to bring the drinks isn’t always a bad thing, and you can make sure everyone gets something they like. They could want to bring more than chips or a drink though, like a side dish. No one said this couldn’t be a potluck! Never turn down someone bringing free food to a party.sliced bread

If you are having a dinner party, of course there will be dinner. Don’t order take-out! There are recipes on the internet that are just a mouse click away. Cooking at home is always more cost-effective than ordering something. Of course, frozen pizza is always an option, but there are other delicious entrées to try as well. Although pizza is great, certain foods stretch and feed more, while costing less. Some people find it to be more delicious and filling. Pasta is always a cheap food that feeds a lot of people. Somehow, there are always more noodles than there are people. And even if you do happen to run out, it’s a quick 8 minute boil to more noodles.

Looking to host a more formal party? Or, maybe you just want something besides noodles; ramen does get old. Cooking a turkey or ham can feed a lot of people and it’s very filling. It’s usually just some preparation and a quick shove in the oven. Bonuses: Heating up an oven can often heat up an apartment potentially saving you on your heating bill. You also get leftovers which could feed you for a week!

scrabble board

So the food has been eaten, everyone’s happy…. now what? How are you going to entertain those people? There are several options rather than going out and spending money on an activity. Do you have any board games? My personal favorites are Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, and Munchkin. Card games are also great because several people can play at once. Do you own an Xbox Kinect? Nothing gets the group going like Kinect Sports or other Kinect Games! Your whole body is involved, and dancing games are usually a good time and laugh for everyone. For the more restful people, there are always movies: Netflix, YouTube, Red Box, and Hulu are great, cheap options to find videos and movies for entertainment.

Hosting a dinner party can be a lot of fun so don’t stress out; if you can handle finals, you can totally handle this. Just a little bit of planning, and you and your guests can have an awesome time.

Off-Campus Life: The Good, the Bad, and the Happy Medium

3 Nov

Leah Steppe- Public Relations and Advertising, Peer Counselor

For Rent Sign

Deciding where to live while you’re in college is a big decision for most. It’s your home away from home. There are hundreds of different living options while you are in college house, apartment, duplex, or dorm. One way to narrow down your search is to answer one simple question… Do you want to live on or off campus?.

To help ease the decision let’s discuss pros and cons to living off campus.


Pro: Many housing options (house, apartment, duplex) are considered off campus but are actually within walking distance to campus.  Living within walking distance can be great for students who want to live close (especially students who don’t have a car) but do not want to live in the dorms.

Con: Living off campus can mean living OFF campus, be careful what you look for. Although, many residency options are close to campus, there are just as many that are not within walking distance and require additional transportation… Most places around Purdue University are less than 10 miles or closer to campus so the drive really isn’t bad. Check out our article “Is It Worth It to Own a Car In College?” to see if you can afford the cost of transportation or for ideas on other means of transportation, some apartment complexes even have their own shuttle service.


The cost of living off campus can be significantly cheaper than living on campus, but it’s all about how and where you live.

Pro: Living off campus can be cheaper if you live in the right place. Typically, living further off campus can save you money on rent but your transportation costs may increase.

Photo By DrJunge

Photo By DrJunge

Typically, the nicer the apartment (i.e more amenities) the more expensive it is so you have to be careful. Living in a smaller place with more roommates can also save money by spreading the costs of living with more people (not just rent, but utilities, transportation, and food too). You also have the ability to buy and make your own food which means you can save a lot of money if you shop wisely. If it is your first time on your own or you just want to learn how to cook for less check out “Suiting Up Your Kitchen” or “When Raman Just Isn’t Enough, Why you Should Cook!”to learn quick tips on setting up your kitchen and cooking more than out of a box.

Con: Living closer to campus can be more expensive because you have the luxury of living close to classes, food, and entertainment. Living in a nicer, larger apartment with many amenities can be more expensive as well. The cost is greater because the demand for those apartments will be higher and real estate is all about location location location.


Zami student housingPro: Moving out of the dorms means having a lot more space. When you live in an apartment or a house you usually have your own bedroom which means no more sharing a bedroom. You also could have your own bathroom or one you share with 1 or 2 other people, which is better than a whole floor of people. Almost all apartments or houses are going to offer more space than a dorm, just be sure to do your research.

Con: You may end up paying more for that space though if you choose to live in an apartment complex with lots of amenities. The fewer roommates you have, the more space you have, but you typically end up paying more for a 2-bedroom apartment versus a 4-bedroom apartment. Also, it costs money to heat and cool all that extra space too, something you didn’t have to account for when living in the dorms and the heating bill can really add up in the chilly Indiana winters.


Signing a lease means you are locked into living in that space for as long as the lease says, unless you sublease your place. Most leases around Purdue University are for a full year which means you are responsible for paying rent even when school is not in session.

FDR signing paperPro: This can be a good thing for those students taking summer courses, working on or around campus for the summer, or if you just want to get away from home for a while.

Con: It can be a hassle though as a lot of students will go home during the summer which means paying rent for a place you are not even living at.

Deciding where to live while you are away at college is a big decision. Make sure you do some research before choosing a place because once you sign that lease it is difficult to get out. Here are some resources to check out for help in finding the right place for you:

  • Boiler Apartments
  • Purdue Housing Fair: Takes places once a semester on campus. Several apartment complexes hand out information about their apartments and free stuff! Dates will be announced at beginning of each semesters.
  • Purdue Off Campus Housing

The right place is out there for everyone whether it’s on campus, off campus, right next to campus, or somewhere in between. Just be sure to find the right fit for you and remember there are pros and cons to living on and off campus. When you find the right place it will not be a dorm, apartment, house, or duplex it will be your home.

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