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What to do with Your Financial Aid Refund

4 Jan

It’s the beginning of the semester, and many of you have probably received or are expecting a financial aid refund. It can be exciting to see that amount credit your bank account, but what should you do with it? Your refund is yours to do with that you wish, related to your educational expenses. However, receiving a large lump sum of money can sometimes make people go crazy spending. Here are some tips to make sure your refund covers what you need it to, and lasts:

Buy your books and supplies. Since that money is for your education, it makes sense to start here. While it is recommended to bargain hunt, books still add up fast! Purchase or rent the textbooks required for your classes, and then remember to buy any supplies you may need, whether that be notebooks, pens, a calculator, etc. It will be easier to be prepared for the full semester ahead and not having to worry about finding money to purchase more supplies later.

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Calculate your rent and monthly costs. If you pay rent and utilities or have any monthly costs at all, it is important to add up what those amount to versus your refund amount so you can figure out what you have left to work with. Many apartment complexes will allow you to pay for multiple months at once. While it can be nerve-wrecking to write such a big check, if you pay your rent for the entire spring, you will know you won’t be scrounging later to come up with rent money because you thought you had more to work with than you did. It may be a good idea to check out a budgeting worksheet so you can see all your costs laid out in front of you.

Examine your habits. How much do you think you will spend on going out to eat? While it may be too much of a toll on your wallet to do every day, think about your patterns last semester. There may be certain times of the year you are likely to spend more on coffee or eating out, like during spring break or finals week. Remember to leave that cushion in your budget for the times you may want to spend a bit more.

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Put it in a different account. A good strategy to manage your refund is to move it to a different account than what your debit card is attached to. While it doesn’t have to be a savings account, putting most of your money and actively having to transfer it to yourself (or setting an amount to automatically transfer monthly) can be a great budgeting tool and make you better aware of what you are spending. This may be particularly helpful if you do not decide to pay all of your rent at once, or have wages from a part-time job that are helping supplement your refund and you need to see how they affect your budget.

Think ahead. While your spring refund is meant to help you live during the spring semester, you may want to think before you spend it on something you do not need if you are unsure of job/internship opportunities in the coming summer, do not have a birthday or occasion where you may be receiving monetary gifts, etc. When the semester ends and you are still job hunting or have a little bit of time between classes and starting your summer job, you will be thankful that you saved what you could.

Budgeting your financial aid refund appropriately can help you make this semester a very successful one. Good luck in classes, Boilermakers!

Attainable 2019 Financial Goals for College Students

2 Jan

Happy New Year, Purdue students! Inevitably, a new year always brings some resolutions. You’ve probably thought about how often you intend to go to the gym, and maybe even vowed to improve your eating habits after the holidays. You’re probably thinking about doing homework ahead of time, having a more positive attitude, etc. All very common New Year goals. Have you also been thinking about your finances? Many people set the goal to better manage their money in the coming year. For college students with a limited income but many expenses, this can seem hard. To make it a bit easier, we have come up with these attainable financial goals for students in 2019:

Track your spending. Sometimes it may seem like you just do not know where your money goes. Would you like to have more saved up, or set aside more fun money every now and then? Once people start tracking their spending, they are usually surprised by what they spend the most on. How much do you really spend on coffee or going out to eat? Tracking your spending can give insight and help as you decide where you could spend less. Make categories of what you spend on, and record every purchase you make. You can use an Excel spreadsheet, or an app that can help you track spending. Try not to adjust your behavior so you can see how you naturally spend, and you will then see what habits you have formed.

Start a budget. Once you have tracked some spending habits, start a budget if you haven’t already! What do you need for rent and groceries? Are you putting aside any savings? Look at your monthly income sources and monthly expenses, and find a balance that works for you. Having a written out, planned budget can help you make better spending choices and is very do-able as a college student.  It is also much more concrete than just having a general idea of a budget in your head.

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Examine your debt. Do you have any outstanding balances on credit cards? Keep track of any debt you may have, and try to work on a plan to chip away at it. It may be one simple payment, or may require a few steps. Either way, knowing your balances owed and interest rates will help you make informed decisions about payments. Sometimes it is easy to forget to make a payment or check your credit card account to make sure everything is in place, so the beginning of the year is a perfect time to re-orient yourself with all of that. It is also great to brush up on different strategies for paying off debt.

Start a savings/emergency fund. Did any of you just let out a slight laugh? As a college student with limited income, it can definitely be hard to think about saving for an emergency or saving in general when there are so many things you need now. However, it does not take much to start saving a little, and even a little will add up over time. Whether you open a separate account for savings, just have an envelope you set aside, a jar you throw your loose change in, or an app that rounds up your purchases, saving is saving. Consider taking even just a few dollars of your income if you work and setting it aside. Or, try to eat out less and use the money you would normally spend for that to set aside instead. While you may not have thousands in your reserves, even having a couple of hundred dollars can really help if you are ever in a bind. If you set money aside slowly, you will likely not even notice you are missing any.

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Know your credit score. The beginning of the year is also a great time to check out your credit score. You can view your credit score free at www.annualcreditreport.com. Once you know it, review a breakdown of the components of a credit score, and ideas to improve your score. While most college students have a limited credit history, knowing what your score is is an important first step as you build and improve your credit.

 

Hopefully these tips and goal ideas have you starting off 2019 on the right financial foot!

What’s in a Credit Score?

14 Dec

Credit scores can be a scary topic to delve into. As young adults, it can be intimidating to start learning about credit, but it is the right time to soak it all in. What you are doing now is starting to lay the foundation of your credit. We could write countless blog posts about how certain situations can impact your credit (and most certainly will write those detailed posts), but as a good intro to credit, let’s start with the basics. Your credit is determined by these five components:

35% is based on payment history. Your payment history is important because to lenders, it reveals how reliable you may be at repaying future debts. Revolving credit (credit cards) and installment loans (mortgage, student loan) are both figured into the payment history calculation, with installment loans holding a bit more weight. Paying any debt on-time is important, though. To improve and keep strong this part of your credit score, make consistent, on-time payments. This component carries a higher weight than any other credit score component.

30% is based on amounts owed. This category is centered on credit utilization, or the amount you owe compared to what your overall available credit is. Borrowers that consistently max out their credit cards or carry high balances look risky to lenders. The best way to do well in this category is to carry low balances on credit cards, and ideally be able to pay off your credit cards each month. This requires maintaining a budget and not spending more than you can afford, even when you use a credit card.

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15% is based on length of credit history. This part looks at the length of time all accounts in your name have been open. It may be harder for people, like first-time borrowing college students, to achieve a high credit score due to this factor. People with a longer credit history have more data to base payment history on, so it helps them out. If you have not already, consider opening a student credit card that can be used for gas or another routine purchase. Pay it off each month and you will start establishing your own credit history. To check out some top-rated student credit cards, visit these resources:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/best/credit-cards/college-student

https://www.moneycrashers.com/best-credit-cards-college-students/

10% is based on credit mix. This component of a credit score simply considers what type of accounts you have open – credit cards, installment loans, retail accounts, mortgages, etc. It is not a crucial factor in your score. Just always remember to keep track of any loans you have taken out, and to be mindful of the amount of credit card accounts you have open. Having too many open may be too tempting for some people, so sticking to two or three well-researched choices may be the best for college students.

10% is based on new credit. While also not the biggest component in a credit score, the amount of new credit you have is still important to look at. Many new accounts opening at once tells lenders that you may be a risky borrower. Especially if you are still establishing credit and do not have a long credit history, spacing new accounts out instead of opening a bunch at once may be what is best for you.

In college, it is good to establish a knowledge base of credit scores, and set yourself up for success later on. Being aware of what makes up your credit score may cause you to think twice before whipping out your card to make a purchase or saying yes when the retail store asks you if you want to open an account with them for 15% off. Many credit cards and banks now offer free credit score viewing, so you should be able to view your score if you are interested. If you are not sure that your bank or lenders have that service available, you can also check your credit score free at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Student Employment Spotlight: Ashley Steed

12 Dec

Name: Ashley Steed

Hometown: Ashtabula, Ohio

Major: Biology

Year: Junior

Position title: Education Assistant

Location: Columbian Park Zoo

Describe your job duties: I assist with and lead different types of the Zoo’s education programs. We host both onsite and offsite programs. Some of these types of programs are birthday parties, classes, summer camps, and mini-zoos. In any type of program, I get to teach people of all ages about animals. I also get to help with animal socialization, which is a type of training that focuses on an animal’s ability to be held for a period of time, or just be out of its enclosure and interact with humans.

What is your favorite part about the job? My favorite part of my job is seeing people’s (especially children’s) faces light up when they learn something new about animals.

Ashley

Ashley during a birthday party with the zoo’s sloth, Irma.

How do you manage working and school? I have a planner, and I try to look at the week ahead, figure out due dates, and work on things ahead of time. It’s not too bad since I work two or three days a week.

What lessons have you learned while working? I have learned how to better manage my time, which was something I didn’t know how to do going into college. I have improved my public speaking skills immensely and learned a lot of new things about animals.  I have also learned it’s important to listen to your supervisor, especially in this career field. Rules exist to keep people safe.

Do you think your job has prepared you for the future? I do think this job has prepared me for the future, because it’s something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. I’ve always known I wanted to work with animals in some capacity, and this has been an introduction into how zoos work behind the scenes.

What advice would you give to Purdue students looking for jobs? I would suggest you find something you find interesting. If you are going to work, make sure it is something worthwhile.

Include any other remarks you wish to share: I’m very grateful for the job I have and wouldn’t change a thing about it (besides wishing I could work more). I highly recommend anyone who likes animals and has the time to look into volunteering or doing an internship at the Columbian Park Zoo. The great thing about being a smaller zoo is everyone gets to be very hands-on.

Purdue Merit Scholarship Renewal

6 Dec

It is hard to believe, but the spring semester will be here before we know it! Are you a Purdue merit scholar? Hint: You are if you receive the Trustees or Presidential Scholarship. Here is a reminder of what you need to do in order to ensure that you will still receive your scholarship(s) in the spring.

Remain continually enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student. Being enrolled full-time means that you are enrolled in 12 credit hours or more for the semester. This excludes summers and co-op semesters. Enrollment status is checked at the start of each semester, so as long as you are enrolled in at least 12 credit hours for the spring semester, you are good to go.

Achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. Maintaining your scholarship and maintaining your GPA go hand in hand. As long as your cumulative GPA is at least at 3.0, you will be able to receive your merit scholarship. GPA is reviewed at the end of each academic year in May. Remember that cumulative GPA is different from your semester GPA. Often, not getting an individual course grade you hoped for does not necessarily mean you will not receive the cumulative GPA you hoped for. If you are interested in simulating what you think your cumulative GPA might be, you can use this calculator.

Remain enrolled in the academic program to which you were originally admitted for at least one academic year. This applies to all of the freshmen merit scholars out there. If you are considering changing your academic program to a different major or college, doing so between the fall and spring semesters this year will result in the forfeiture of your spring 2019 merit scholarship. Waiting until after spring to make any changes will ensure that you keep your scholarship. While you may fully intend to make a change, waiting until the right time can be financially beneficial.

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Keep these guidelines in mind as you prepare for the spring semester and future semesters. Being prepared and knowing criteria to follow will help you make the most of your scholarships! For additional information on renewal criteria for other scholarships, you can visit https://www.purdue.edu/dfa/details.html#renew.

Student Employment Spotlight: Taylor Warner

29 Nov

Name: Taylor Warner

Hometown: Winamac, Indiana

Major: Elementary Education with a minor in Global Studies

Year: Senior

Job location: West Lafayette Intermediate School

Position title: Math and Reading Tutor

Taylor

Describe your job duties: As a reading and math tutor, I work one on one and in small groups with elementary students. I aid the students in completing assignments, as well as help them correct their tests and homework. We spend time reading books together and we also study content in math and reading for practice and to prepare for future exams.

What is your favorite part about your job? My favorite part about my job is that I love coming to work. It is so much more than assisting the students in academics. I have built relationships with the students and staff. I feel appreciated in my job and feel that I am contributing to something great! Above all else, I am getting impeccable job experience that I will be able to put on my resume. As part of Purdue’s elementary education program, students are in classrooms a couple hours each week. This job allows me to accumulate more field experience on top of Purdue’s coursework.

How do you manage working and school? I work 6-10 hours a week depending on my semester schedule. I like that my schedule is consistent every week and that I get to set my schedule in the beginning of each semester. To manage school and work, I make sure to be realistic when making my schedule. Semesters that I am taking more credit hours, I normally work less.

What lessons have you learned while working? I have learned patience and dedication. I know that the students are relying on me to tutor them and that makes me feel appreciated. I know that everyone learns things at different rates and that extra practice is always helpful.

Do you think your job has prepared you for the future? Absolutely!

What advice would you give to Purdue students looking for jobs? Find something you have interest in or applies to your future career. It makes going to work feel so much more meaningful than just a paycheck.

 Include any other remarks you wish to share: Being a tutor at WLIS is rewarding. If you are interested, you should apply to one of the job postings online! (https://www.purdue.edu/webdb/JobPosting/JobSearch.php )

Holiday Gift Guide

26 Nov

The holidays have become a time of hustle and bustle, get-togethers, and gift giving. While it is fun to give to the ones we love, it can definitely take a toll on the wallet. You may be looking to get deals or save whatever money you can as you shop, or you may be specifically concerned about the value someone is getting out of a gift. Even if you have lots set aside for gift giving this year, you do not want to waste it on gifts that won’t be of value or used by the person you are gifting to. Here are some ideas that may help you save money and get value at the same time!

Gift experiences. Whether small or big, gifting an experience ensures a gift will be used and enjoyed. Plus, when the gifts are unwrapped and the celebrations are over, that person will still have something to look forward to. Gift cards to the movies, salons, and to do activities like bowling or mini golf are all fun experiences you can enjoy with that friend or family member. If it is a bigger gift you are giving, you could even purchase a hotel gift card for the person and plan a weekend trip with him or her. Experiences will leave lasting memories and allow you to spend quality time with the person you are gifting to, which are two very valuable things indeed!

Gift a charitable donation. Maybe you and your friend have given each other gifts for years and are running out of ideas for each other. Why not show you care by donating what you would have spent on a gift to your friend’s charity of choice? You both will know that gift is going to something meaningful. While there is no physical present your friend will be holding, it will probably make them happier than many other presents could.

Bake or cook up some love. Food items are always a hit! Do you know someone who has a huge sweet tooth, or someone who doesn’t get enough of your famous lasagna during the year? Now is the time to show your love through cooking. Baked goods or casseroles can be presented so nicely and look like a substantial gift. You can definitely save money by giving food items to friends and family, and you know your food will be enjoyed. Complete a gift of homemade cookies with some packages of cocoa, or pair a few cute kitchen utensils with your baked spaghetti. Adding something small turns a food item into an instant gift.

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Give your time. Time is precious, and your loved ones will probably be more thankful for time with you than any other gift you could possibly give them. Maybe your grandma needs help with some home improvement projects. Maybe on the day you devoted to celebrating the holidays with your best friend from your hometown, you can go out to lunch and do something you used to enjoy doing when you were younger (ice skating, making a gingerbread house, etc.). Giving hours of your time with no distractions can be a gift that will be cherished for years to come.

Make it white elephant. If you have an annual gathering with family and friends and usually do a secret Santa gift exchange, you can swap it out for a white elephant exchange to make it funnier and save everyone money! For a white elephant exchange, each person brings something they already have that they want to give away. You randomly distribute the presents, and can then laugh at the results. You may end up with your aunt’s old cat-shaped salt and pepper shakers, or may find that the throw pillow your cousin so desperately wanted to get rid of perfectly matches the décor in your apartment. You either find a treasure or get a great laugh, which is a win either way! This also makes party preparations less stressful for everyone, as they do not have to spend time finding the perfect gift, but can grab what they need right in their homes.

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Find out what your loved ones need. Who says socks are a boring gift? As you grow up, you are probably realizing that sometimes practical gifts are much appreciated. Maybe your parents’ vacuum cleaner is on its last leg; you and your siblings can chip in for that! Maybe your younger sister is still getting the hang of the whole stocking her own fridge thing; get her a grocery gift card and help her shop! By getting what someone needs, you know you will be providing something for them they can use well beyond the holiday season.

Find out what your loved ones want. On the flip side, if you want to gift something that your mom wouldn’t ever buy herself, make sure you get an idea of what she wants! Does she really want more bath products, or would she enjoy a new pair of earrings more? Whatever the item is, the person will probably think of you when they use/wear it. If you pay attention to what the people on your list have been wanting, you will really hit it out of the park and ensure your gift will be well-loved!

Get crafty. You have heard it before, but sometimes homemade gifts are the best gifts! Whether you make a blanket, a calendar, or frame a nice picture, homemade is always appreciated. You will spend minimal money, but put love and time in that will show in each homemade item. This also allows you to personalize each gift and make it apparent that you really thought about the person you are gifting to. If you need inspiration, check out this list of homemade gift ideas.

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No matter how you plan on giving this year, we wish you a happy holiday season filled with memories, Boilermakers!

Making the Best of Black Friday

21 Nov

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year. Whether you line up shortly after dinner on Thanksgiving or prefer to browse online in your pajamas, we have some tips for you to remember as you hunt for deals this year.

You will get a better deal on certain items over others. While it would be nice if you could get a huge discount on everything on your list on Black Friday, some items will have tags with steeper discounts than other items. Even though it is the common belief that you are getting an incredible deal on every item out there on Black Friday, this is not exactly the case. Experts specifically warn against buying furniture, gaming consoles, and toys on Black Friday. While some stores may seemingly have sales galore on Black Friday, these items are typically discounted later in the gift-buying season. Electronics, appliances, jewelry, and handbags are among the best discounted items you can usually buy on Black Friday. Moral of the story: Actually check to see if you are getting a deal. Even though it is fun to shop on Black Friday, it will be better to wait if you can get a better price later.

Research where you want to shop. Especially if you plan on purchasing a big ticket item like a TV, do not just randomly pick a store that sells TV’s and show up on Thanksgiving night. Most Black Friday ads have now been released, so take a look at the prices of those big ticket items now. You can also use price comparison tools online to ensure you are not missing anything.

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Plan your day. Along with researching where you want to shop, plan your day. Look up what time each store you are planning on going to opens, and map out a rough schedule of when you will be at each location. Even if you do not strictly follow it, it will help you stay on track. To help plan the order of stores you visit, prioritize what you are buying. The crockpot you plan on getting a major deal on is probably more important than the sweater sale at another store. If you miss out on little items you probably will not mind, but will be pretty bummed if you did not get the chance to buy what you really needed/wanted.

Set a budget. Even though Black Friday can often land you with some good deals, do not buy so much that you still end up spending more than you should have. You are not actually saving money if you did not plan to buy something in the first place. Of course you can grab gifts for your loved ones and treat yourself to something you have been eyeing, but just make sure it doesn’t get you into financial trouble! Look at every item and consider how useful it is, or if you/the person you are buying for will forget about it a couple months after Christmas.

Remember the online deals. While there are some unique, in-store specials on Black Friday and you may not get the same sort of thrill shopping on your computer, most Black Friday deals that are in stores will be online. Plus, free shipping is usually a given on Black Friday. This may be strategic for you if you are purchasing a large item and would rather have it arrive at your place instead of lugging it to your car. If it just seems too crazy at the stores, do not feel like you are missing out by participating on your computer. You will still get deals!

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Keep other shopping days in mind. Before you blow all of your extra spending money on Black Friday, keep in mind that there are other great shopping days ahead. Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday; if there is a local business you love, show your support by shopping there on Saturday. Then, Cyber Monday is that following Monday. This day is devoted to online shopping so even if you cannot get out to shop, you can participate! Also remember that just about every store will have an “exclusive sale” every week and weekend leading up to Christmas. Even if you do zero shopping during the week following Thanksgiving, you will still be able to grab hold of many sales.

Think outside of the box on Black Friday. While people are knocking each other over to grab the hottest toy this year, you could head to a place that will not be crowded, but where you might find an even better deal than all of the mobs. Did you know most shelters waive their adoption fees on Black Friday? If you have been wanting to adopt a cat or dog, consider giving one a home for the holidays. Have you thought of hitting up the grocery store? While everyone was going crazy at the stores on the day before Thanksgiving, the grocery stores are usually dead on Black Friday (and are full of post-Thanksgiving deals). Fill your car up; if you participate in a rewards program at a gas station or with a credit card, you may earn double points! All Indiana state parks are even offering free admission for Black Friday 2018.

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Finally, do not lose sight of what the holidays are about. Black Friday, a day when it seems everyone just wants more, is ironically right next to Thanksgiving, a day when everyone should be thankful for what they have. Do not lose sight of what you are thankful for in the chaos, and remember why you are here. All the items you purchase will not last, but the relationships you have and the legacy you leave will.

 

No matter how you spend this holiday weekend, we wish you a happy one full of food and fun!

Saving on Winter Utilities

14 Nov

Brrrr! Can anyone believe we went from 70-degree days to snowfall in a matter of three weeks? There was a brief period of time when you could probably be comfortable without air conditioning or heat on, but now you need warmth. Just as you may have discovered when you were running the air in the summer, utility bills are not cheap. So, what can you do to stay warm and save on utilities at your apartment or house during these brutal winter months? Try these suggestions.

Adjust the thermostat. If you can turn down the heat and leave your apartment cooler for a few hours, you will see some immediate savings on your next bill. Think about the times of day that work well for you. Is there a period of time when you and your roommates are all out during the day? Or do you have enough blankets and warm items you can bundle up with so you can keep the place cooler at night? If you time it right, you probably will not be affected by the few hours with a cooler temperature and instead, you can just reap the savings.

Open your curtains and shades. People greatly underestimate the power of the sun in winter. If you can still get a sunburn in the winter, you can surely still enjoy the sun’s warmth! Do you have any windows the sun streams through during the day? Make sure those curtains and shades are open so you can take advantage of the free heat. Once the sun starts to go down, shut the curtains so you can trap the heat.

Invest in a space heater. If you often spend time in just one space of your apartment and really only need that area heated, consider a space heater. This would be a good option for times when you are home alone for a few hours and only plan on mostly staying in one room, or if you and your roommates are all watching TV in the same room. You can purchase a decent space heater at about $50 (or even less if you look for sales), and will feel an immediate difference in the room. It will save you major electricity costs if used properly, but do not try to use space heaters to heat your entire apartment, as that will end up costing you more. Also pay attention to the manufacture’s safety precautions, and never leave a space heater on unattended.

Utilize your ceiling fans. Most people view ceiling fans as a way to cool down, but ceiling fans are actually great for temperature regulation in general. Make sure your ceiling fans are set to flow clockwise during the winter months. This ensures that hot air will be pushed down and that heat will more effectively be trapped in the room. Just keep the fan on a low setting when you are running the heat, and you should feel a big difference!

Close some vents. If there is a room you do not use or are not in often, be sure the vents in those rooms are closed. Otherwise, you are paying to heat a room you aren’t even enjoying heat in. Think spare bedrooms, laundry rooms, etc. There is no harm in this since you can always open them back up if you do need to spend time in the room! Just be sure to not shut vents in rooms with exposed pipes (mainly in older places), as you do not want your pipes to freeze.

Warm White LED Cluster Fairy Lights On Black Cable -- "Dress your home in style with this gorgeous warm white cluster garland, the perfect addition to any winter wonderland. Ideal for candy cane wrapping around large Christmas trees and laying atop fireplaces"

Use LED lights. If it is ridiculously cold and you just need that heat turned high for a little while, consider taking other actions that can counteract the extra energy you are using. Do you have LED light bulbs? LED lights are a giant energy saver, so consider switching out your regular lights for LED if you have not done so already. Also, if you are putting some lights up on a tree or balcony for the holidays, go LED as well. We often light so much up during the holiday season that we see a spike on our electricity bills, but LED lights can help with this.

Break out all of your warm items. This one is simple. Remember to use those thick blankets, wool socks, and fleece pullovers. If you are bundled up right, you will probably feel like you have to run the heat a lot less!

We wish you a warm winter, Boilermakers!

Student Employment Spotlight: Anna Pool

7 Nov

Name:  Anna Pool

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Major: Communication

Year: Sophomore

Job Location: Almost Home Humane Society

Job Title: Kennel Staff

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Anna and her 9-year-old rescued Pomeranian/Schipperke mix, Raven.

Describe your job duties. This job consists mainly of animal care responsibilities including: cleaning of kennels and feeding; transportation of animals to new locations within the shelter; walking of dogs; assisting in dog play groups and microchipping; maintaining cleanliness of the dog and cat kitchens including washing dishes and doing laundry; animal socialization and customer service assistance for potential adopters.

What is your favorite part about your job? I love just being with the animals and letting them have the chance to be loved on. I have always been an animal person, so the shelter atmosphere gives me the chance to be surrounded by animals that just need a little bit of attention, and I love giving them all of the attention I can give. I have dogs at home in Indianapolis, and I miss them terribly, so  working at the shelter gives me the opportunity to get my “animal fix”.

How do you manage working and school? Honestly, it’s not a hard thing to manage since the shelter is so flexible with my hours and availability, and I have been working part time jobs since I was in high school. Finding the perfect schedule and the right amount of hours is something that took a lot of planning and consideration, but it paid off. I currently still have plenty of time for my academic and social lives in addition to working, and I am already planning my work schedule for next semester to prepare. At first it was slightly difficult to gauge how much time I would be able to work without it negatively effecting my schoolwork, but I know myself and my school work ethic enough. I know the difference between when I say I will do my work and when I actually will.

What lessons have you learned while working? I have learned that you can never expect to be doing the thing you were “hired to do”. I have been pulled to do so many things at the shelter that I never would have expected to be doing, and it has made me realize that I should always want to learn new things and get used to being uncomfortable. Remaining in the same place for too long doesn’t allow me to grow.

 Do you think your job has prepared you for the future? Yes, this job has prepared me for the future. Ideally, I would like to do public relations work for an animal shelter, and working at Almost Home has given me a glimpse into what the shelter life is like. The “marketing guy” at the shelter does so much more than update the social media page and write up press releases for events. He helps potential adopters get all of the information they need on animals, and makes sure to know all of the animals instead of being cooped up in an office all day. I want to be able to interact with the organization’s publics, while still getting to know the heart of the organization and be myself.

Anna

Anna and her 8-month-old pit bull, Bowzer.

 What advice would you give to Purdue students looking for jobs? Don’t settle for something easy where you can just clock in and out and be done. Actually read the job descriptions and find one that you have interest in. Even if it’s something that has nothing to do with your career path or major, if it jumps out at you, reach out to the employer and apply! Do not forget that this is a job that you can put on your resume later and a place where you can gain applicable experience to a variety of fields.

Would you like to share any other remarks? I am the only non-Animal Science major who works at the shelter, and I think that says a lot about the importance of doing something you love even if it’s not directly related to your career path.

 

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