College Advice: Dorm Living #1

So, I thought that since I had a whole post up yesterday about finding an off-campus apartment, I should at least try and be fair and write up some suggestions for finding/ living in the dorms.

The big question is should you dorm or not? I always suggest that, if you can, you should live in a dorm your freshman year (at least). I can say most of my closest friends are friends I met through my dorming experience, and it offers a great way to ease into a semi-independant life.

The first thing you need to decide is what type of dorm you want to live in.

There are two general types of dorms available across the US, actually three. Each of them has pros and cons, so I will go through each of the three

Traditional:

dorm-traditional

 

The most common, and stereotypical, type of dorm, the “traditional” dorm room is little more then a bedroom you share with a roommate. The main pro of the “traditional” styled dorm room is that they often, due to the shared bathroom/ relaxation areas, are more social. The obvious downside is that you share a bathroom with the entire floor/wing of your dorm, and rely on the college’s cleaning staff to keep it clean. They are also, generally, the cheapest option, so you are counting your pennies it might be a good fit.

Suite-Style

Dorm-Suite

 

A Suite-Style dorm normally has two (or more) rooms attached to a bathroom. The main benefit of a suite-styled dorm is the (comparative) privacy offered by having your own bathroom, but (in general) suite-style dorms tend to be less social as students tend to stick inside their rooms more. Furthermore, while having your own bathroom might sound like a walk in the park, you have to remember that that bathroom will only stay as clean/well stocked as you make it. Suite-style dorms can be a bit more expensive then traditional dorms, and you still have to deal with roommates (3 + of them!).

Apartment-Style

Dorm-Apartment

 

The apartment-Style dorm is the rarest, and most expensive option. Generally reserved for upperclassmen, but sometimes offered to freshmen, it is the equivalent to a small apartment. It offers more space, but often is lacking in terms of social interaction to to the 100% self-contained nature of each unit. In some, you will have to share a room, but it is also not unheard of for (at least) some apartments featuring single-person rooms, so it can be great if you don’t want to have to share a bedroom.

(To Be Continued…)

College Advice: Finding An Off-Campus Apartment

So, you have done the whole dorming thing, and maybe it just wasn’t for you, or maybe your school doesn’t offer dorms past a certain year, and now you have to find some sort of off-campus housing for the next year for whatever reason. The first thing to realize that apartment hunting is not a fun process, at least not for a first time renter.

Luckily, I am here to give you my sub-par advice! Well, I just finished up the process for the second year in a row, so I am sure I can give you some tips/tricks to help you get on your way.

The first question is where to start. For me, the first thing to do is make sure you know who you want to live with. If you already know the exact people who will be living with you, it will allow you to prioritize and organize visits while keeping all of your needs in mind.

I would highly suggest you check out your University’s Off-Campus housing website. Most schools have one, that often offers links to the local regulations on tenant-landlord interactions and sometimes offers suggestions as to certain buildings that are student friendly. Normally a google search of “_________ University Off Campus Housing” will find these websites, and they are a great way to get your feet wet and figure the whole (confusing) process out.

The final, and in my opinion most important, step before actually looking at places is to sit down with your soon-to-be roommates, and discuss exactly what you are looking for in your rental. This should include:

  • # of bedrooms/Bathrooms
  • Price range (be realistic)
  • Amenities needed (Dishwasher, in-unit washer/dryer, etc)
  • Location (Do you want to live right next to school, or a bit away? Is there strict boundaries you need to follow?)

Really, the next step is to start looking. The housing market is different from state to state, but generally as a broke college kid you will be searching without a Realtor, so be careful. Many universities where off-campus housing is popular will have companies that specialize in off-campus housing. These are great to start, but it is important to look around and not rule out all other options.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to not just settle. Look at a variety of options and compare each. Do your research. I cannot stress this enough, there are sites out there, like WhoseYourLandlord, that try to help you find good rentals. Search sites such as Yelp and even just google to check landlords and property management groups.

Once you choose an apartment, you generally will have to either put down a holding fee or sign the lease, depending on how early you are and the landlord/company you are using. With the lease, you generally are expected to pay the security deposit (Normally 1 month’s rent), and sometimes a first/last month’s rent, depending on the landlord. Be sure to make sure the company is legit BEFORE giving them any money, because while rare, there are scams out there and as first time renters you are easy(er) targets.

Some resources:

  • Craigslist: A good site to start looking, but again, beware of scams. This is also a great place to find shared living arrangements and sublets that are available.
  • Zillow: A lot of listings for major cities(Washington, DC/Philly/L.A./Etc)
  • Padmapper: Similar to Zillow, but rental specific. Seems to have more larger buildings (At least in Philly).
  • Local Newspapers: Old fashioned, but they still work just fine.

 

If You Openly Carry a Gun, You Better Have your Permit Taped to Your Head

Just letting you know.

I don’t like guns. I don’t like the idea of guns, I don’t like that fact that anyone who wants to can legally buy a gun, I just don’t like guns.

And if I see a guy walking down the street with a pistol at his side, I will call 911. Some of you may think this is crazy, you will be saying, “Oh Burn-Account open carry is legal! You have no clue if that nice citizen has a license! How dare you call the cops on a law abiding citizen!”

And you know what? I couldn’t care less. Because I am not going to go up to an armed “citizen” and ask for his permit. The way I see it, that is just asking to be shot in the face. I will call the police, and I 100% expect them to come out and check the person’s permit, as that is their job. To keep us safe.

And if I see you strutting down the street with your toy in tow, and you get a visit from the police later, know that I am not sorry.

An Open Letter to Temple University’s Community

To President Theobald, Athletic Director Kevin Clarke, Temple University Board of Trustees, and the Temple University Community,

I would first like to say that I have never, in my life, been on a varsity sports team. I am just one student here at Temple, one of many I hope, that was saddened to see that Temple has decided that 6 sports- Baseball, softball, men/women’s crew, men’s track & field, and men’s gymnastics-were not worth the pittance of a budget that they had been given previously.

Despite the fact that some of these sports, most notably our crew team, have been some of the most competitive and well known sports programs that we have had here at Temple. While I can’t speak for the players that have now lost their hobbies, I can say that as a student I am disappointed and  angered by this decision. The unspoken message from the cutting of these sports teams is that our football program- which I never even go to watch as it literally depresses me beyond belief- is more worthy of our funding then these six sports that have great potential and results.

I am most saddened by this news, I used to be a major proponent of Temple to my friends and family, but I can no longer suggest anyone consider Temple for their schooling, as I can no longer say that I feel like we are moving in the right direction and clearly my morals do not match up with those of the current administration.

One thing about Temple’s student body is that we are perfectly willing to fight back. Most of us are not naive Ivy Leagers who are used to being told that we have to do ____ or _____, most of the people I have met are perfectly willing to stand up and let everyone know exactly what we think. Maybe that is not what you are used to back in quiet Indiana, but I assure you that we are not done yet.

If you turn your back on history, you forget those that created that history, whether they are athletes, coaches, administrators, and any person who played a role in making our sports programs great. As students, it is often hard to connect to sports that we have no emotional ties, but you do not ‘fix’ this by shutting down sports, you do this by giving students a reason to be proud of these teams. It does not take much, I was floored after reading an article on the men’s crew team’s coach, and how dedicated he was to Temple University and his team a couple months ago. Gavin White, I thought then, he was clearly someone we should all take pride in, not only that he is a coach for my school, but because he was a person that could be looked up to. This made it devastating when I heard the news that crew- along with the other sports- was to be mercilessly cut.

I now ask you why you feel a need to maintain a football team that is hemorrhaging money and not playing on a college level. Our hopes for a successful football team, one that makes the school money rather then wastes the school’s money, is not much more then a pipe dream at this point. We have sports, such as crew and softball, that are currently competing at a high level and pushing the university’s reputation forward. Maybe the most mind-boggling aspect of this whole one-sided debate is that President Theobald was brought in as a financial guru, and apparently now he does not realize that it is not financially viable to sink more and more money into a failing venture such as the football team while dumping successful ventures (such as rowing, softball, gymnastics, etc).

What I fear the most is that this is leading up to the announcement of a football stadium to further kill our athletic budget and push for our 1-7 football team. Go Owls!

-Burn-Account, student Temple University

If you want to save Temple Sports, feel free to sign these petitions:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/728/253/483/save-temple-rowing-teams/

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/798/504/911/save-temple-university-mens-gymnastics/

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/594/394/537/

And Join this Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/savetempleathletics/ (Primarily Temple Students/alumni)

To email President Theobald: president@temple.edu

To email Kevin Clarke: athletics@temple.edu

Board of Trustees: trustees@temple.edu

George E. Moore (BoT Secretary): secretary@temple.edu  

Unpaid Internships- Why they Should Stay

Unpaid internships have been the source for a lot of controversy recently. I can definitely see why people despise them, people hate doing work for free. But I do not thing the answer is to do away with them.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, close to 30% of undergraduates take unpaid internships. The reason for doing so is simple: These students want to have experience before they are thrown to the job market. The thing is that nowadays, having a degree in, say, History, does not make you a very competitive prospect in the HR world. You need to distinguish yourself in some other way. This is what unpaid internships pay you, the ability to say “I am qualified for this job because I have experience in the field”.

But, of course, what people who oppose unpaid internships claim is that this system is a way for companies and organizations to exploit free labor to do the work they don’t want to do. Interns are often forced to the sidelines- answering phones, copying papers, filing, and the like- and this makes these internships pointless. While that argument has some credibility, I would have to disagree. Not only does it allow students to have experience to put on their resume, it gives them a chance to rub shoulders with people who work in their field. It is all about networking, who knows who might offer you a job, or agree to be a reference? And what about the other benefits of working in an office with other people who are employed in your field, even if you are just filing papers you will have access to many different people, who might become your mentors, teachings, or other benefits to you.

The fact is that by ditching unpaid internships, you are depriving a lot of students the chance to gain all this. Those previously unpaid internships will not just reappear as paid internships, many will be gone for good. One of the reasons employers have internships is because it is a worker who you don’t have to pay, who is perfectly willing to work for you. In other words, it is an economic boon for the employer. If you force employers to pay their interns, those previously unpaid internship will dry up.

 

College Advice: Weight and College (AKA the “Freshman Fifteen”)

So, I never had to deal with the so-called “freshman 15″. I always have been skinny (closer to the underweight side of the balancing beam then the overweight one, and having a fast metabolism), and college didn’t change this. But I am going to do my best to give you some advice on how to stave off the freshman 15 (or 30, or 40, or 350) as I know it is something many people worry about.

  • Don’t View Food as an Activity: Something that I have noticed is that the friends that I have who gained weight often are the ones who view food as an activity to do, rather then a necessity. What I mean by that is that they decide to go eat because their friends are going, or because they want to hang out, or because they have one meal left and its sunday evening before the next week’s meals come in. Eat when your body tells you to, not when your friends do.
  • Focus on Eating Healthy over Losing Weight: Now, all the research I’ve seen claims that it can be really difficult to lose weight, or even maintain weight in some cases. If you start by simply trying to eat in a healthy manner, it should be much easier to control your weight, and improves your health just by itself.
  • Don’t go Overboard With Alcohol: One can of beer has approximately 150 calories. That does not sound like all that much until you drink four beers which totals 600 calories, which is about 1/4th of what is suggested for a college-aged male in the entire day. If you are drinking heavily often, expect to have to work out at the gym more often.
  • Set a Schedule for the Gym/Exorcise: The good news is that most colleges/universities offer free use of their gym (or at least include it into tuition). Use it. And furthermore, make a plan as to when you will go to the gym, how you will get there, and what you will do. If you build it into your schedule every week, it becomes a habit.
  • Stay Away from Sugary Drinks: Holy shit do us college students love some sugary drinks. From Soda to fruit juices, these can have quite the toll on your health. The 20 oz bottle of Dr Pepper I am currently drinking has 250 calories in it, which is more then a can of beer, Vanilla ice cream cone from McDonald’s, and McDonald’s Small Fries. Either cut it back or quit it completely.
  • Be Informed: This should be obvious, but do your research. Know not just the Food Pyramid, but also the science behind it and how to truly manage your weight.
  • If Really Worried, Talk to a Doctor or Nutritionist: They can help. Really.