• Falling Into the Autumn Semester – Fall Fun Activities!

    by Taylor Perline

    A view from the stands of a campus football game. There is a marching band on the field.

    The autumn semester is an exciting time for students of all walks of life. It’s a fresh start for both new and returning college students; however, it is not always a breath of fresh air. New classes, new professors, changes in schedules, and other factors can make the fall semester feel more overwhelming than exciting. Luckily, with this change in season, there is an opportunity for fun fall activities on campus!

    Check Out Your College’s Sports

    With the start of the academic season, various sports seasons also start up around campus! And students should not just limit themselves to going to a weekly football game. Football games are full of tradition and school spirit, but students can also check out their college’s soccer teams, volleyball teams, or even water polo (if their school has it of course)! Or if you’d rather be on the field, check out your school’s intramural sports schedule! Whether as a spectator or participant, getting involved with more athletic teams can build a much stronger connection between a student and their school.

    Join a New Club

    Embrace the new beginnings that the fall semester offers and try out a new club! This could be something related to a major, minor, or just another passion. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new. Maybe give the baking club, drawing club, or even some form of animal-based club a try. Connect with your campus student organization office to learn more about what clubs and organizations are available and how to get involved.

    Visit a Coffee Shop

    Whether it be solo or with a friend, a warm drink or a pastry on a crisp fall day can refresh even the most exhausted student. Check out a new coffee shop that you have never been to before.

    Get Ready for Spooky Season

    The faster the color of the leaves begins to change, the faster Halloween season approaches. Many college students enjoy spending time together in fun Halloween-related activities. This could be through going out in costume, staying in for a spooky movie night, or even finding a way to go out trick or treating! In college, it is also common to see students engage in partner or group costumes! Even though the season may be scary, do not be afraid to have a little fun!

    The start of the academic season can a challenging and stressful time for many. Students should remember to make time for self-care and have some fun during their college experience!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • How to Get Involved on Campus and Keep the Perfect Balance

    by Alex Santoro

    An overhead view of a group of eleven college students sitting around two tables.

    As a college student, we are often stuck inside our own bubbles within our colleges and universities. There is a constant routine of going to class, studying, doing daily activities, and repeating the same things over and over. As time goes on, having the same routine can get tiring; college is a time to try new things.

    Change Up Your Routine

    One way to change your routine up is to become more involved on your campus. Campus involvement is something that can provide many professional, social, and fun opportunities. There are so many kinds of organizations on our campuses, and there is a chance that you can even create your own! Some kinds of organizations that would be great to be involved in are academic and social organizations, Greek life, or even organizations like student government. Most campuses provide a very diverse number of organizations that you can join.

    Schedule Time for Involvement

    As a college student attending classes and being involved, I have had issues with keeping the perfect balance between my academic, social, and work lifestyles. One thing that I did to perfect the balance between everything was to create a planner and schedule out my weeks ahead of time. When you take time to create a schedule and put information into a planner, it can tremendously improve the balance of everything that you are juggling.

    Start Each Semester by Noting All Due Dates

    When you are in multiple different classes, it can be hard to keep up with certain deadlines. At the beginning of each semester, I put all the due dates for all assignments, quizzes, and exams into my planner. This gives me the big picture when I look at my planner every week and see the things that I must complete for my classes. Another helpful tip is to color code your classes when you write down all the deadlines so that when you look at your planner every day, you can quickly see which class is which. You can also add a color for your organization meetings and events.

    Overall, campus involvement is something that every college student should try out. It is important to branch out and put yourself out there to experience the wonders of what colleges can have to offer. It is also very important to keep a good balance between all the things to ensure that you can be successful and work hard towards the end goal, which is obtaining a degree and graduating.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • The Do’s and Don’ts of Packing for Your Move to Campus

    by Alex Santoro

    Two college women pose together in their dorm room. They are standing in front of a desk in the space between their single beds.

    Moving into a college dorm can be a daunting task for any incoming freshmen. It can be difficult to determine what is necessary to bring and what can be left at home with limited space in your dorm room. Even if you’ve watched a thousand YouTube videos about the “perfect” packing suggestions, you can still end up with a list a mile long. After experiencing two semesters of dorm life, here are some of my do's and don’ts for move-in day!

    DO Bring Lots and Lots of Storage Options

    Storage is one of the biggest challenges. I recommend using the space under your bed to store extra items that don’t fit in your closet or dresser. Large plastic tubs or storage bins with drawers are a great place to put things like sweatshirts or snacks, and smaller containers are perfect for stacking on shelves. Remember, organization is key!

    DON’T Bring an Iron or Ironing Board

    When I was first packing for school, I thought ironing equipment was an essential item... but if I wasn’t ironing my clothes at home, why would I do it at school? These items take up a lot of space and you will most likely only use them once, if at all.

    DO Bring a Wide Range of Clothes

    When you’re sitting in lectures for a long time, comfort is top priority so pack some cozy outfits! Don’t forget one or two business casual options as well for any academic presentations or job interviews. It’s also good to remember that you may not have to bring everything on the first day. Depending on your school location, summer clothing could be brought home during breaks and exchanged with winter clothing or vice versa! Lastly, if you are traveling a long distance, consider what items can be purchased when you get there!

    DON’T Bring Items That Are Not Allowed

    Many schools do not allow certain items for safety reasons or because they will be provided for you. Although you may really want to bring an air conditioning unit, candles, or smaller appliances like hot plates or toasters, your Resident Assistant will require you to remove them or confiscate them completely.

    DO Bring a Desk Lamp and Surge Protector

    Lightning is not always the best in dorm rooms. Having a light on your desk is really helpful if you’re studying late at night while a roommate is sleeping. Having a surge protector helps eliminate the scarcity of outlets if you have multiple devices you need to plug in.

    DON’T Bring a Massive Laundry Bin, DO Bring a Laundry Bag

    Potentially carrying a large laundry basket up many flights of stairs is not ideal. I found that a laundry bag you can swing over your shoulder was super easy. I even brought two bags: one for dirty clothes on the way to my laundry room and one for clean clothes on the way back!

    DO Bring a Shower Caddy (And Shower Shoes!)

    You’re going to want something to carry all of your shower stuff with you to the bathroom. I recommend a mesh bag which is very easy to clean by hand or in the washing machine and hangs nicely. However, some students prefer to use a plastic caddy that they put on the floor. Don’t forget shower shoes are strongly recommended in dorm bathrooms!!

    Most importantly, DO Coordinate with Your Roommate(s)

    It’s not always possible to get in touch with your future roommate(s) but try your best to coordinate certain items. For example, you won’t need two vacuums or two TVs, and you can save a lot of money and time if you split a wish list!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us - click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • More Plants, Less Stress

    by Lauren Kot

    A collection of six houseplants if a variety of planters, including one in a pink ceramic cat.

    It is easy for college students to feel overwhelmed while juggling classes, study sessions, a job, and a social life, not to mention preparing for a future after college. But it can also be an incredibly exciting and wonderful time! Prioritizing mental health is so important for college students. Finding ways to help manage stress and relieve anxiety will have such a healthy impact on your overall health and wellness, and it will make your college experience all the better.

    One easy way that you can improve your mental health and wellbeing is caring for a houseplant. There are many ways that plants can better your overall health and wellbeing. Owning a plant has been shown to:

    • lower stress and anxiety
    • improve mood
    • give you a greater sense of purpose and responsibility
    • improve productivity
    • increase attention span
    • and improve air quality!

    Reduce Stress Levels

    How can one plant do all of this? Well to start, having plants around you makes you feel more relaxed, comfortable, and can reduce your physiological and psychological stress. Researchers found that students in a computer lab who were surrounded by plants had lower blood pressure than those who had no plants. Plants can make you feel less stressed, happier, and more optimistic. Watching a plant grow and admiring its beauty will instantly improve your mood.

    Increase Brain Function

    Studies have also shown that plants improve productivity and increase attention span, two things that all college students want in their life! Houseplants engage your senses, decreasing cortisol levels and increasing productivity. In one specific study, brain scans of students in a classroom showed that students who studied with real plants in the classroom were more attentive and concentrated better than those who did not have plants around them. Having a plant in your room allows for studying better and longer.

    Become a Plant Parent

    If you’re new to plant ownership, look for plants that need little maintenance, such as aloe vera, spider or snake plants, and succulents. Caring for a plant will give you a sense of responsibility and will improve your overall confidence. It strengthens your bond with nature and gives you a stronger sense of purpose.

    It may be intimidating at first to be in charge of keeping a plant alive, but it is way easier than you might have thought. Once your plant starts growing and flourishing it will encourage you to continue the pattern of caring and helping it grow. And the wonderful thing is that the plant gives back by improving your air quality. It does so by removing carbon dioxide from the air and replacing it with oxygen. Having a plant allows you to gain a greater sense of purpose as well as cleaner air to breathe.

    There are many things you can do to benefit your mental health, and owning a plant is just one of them. Even if you live in a small dorm or apartment, all you need is a little bit of sunlight and a small plant that doesn’t take up a lot of space. It is that simple! You can visit a local nursery or any home improvement store and find a plant for less than $10. You are one small action away from becoming a plant parent and a happier college student. Stress less and own a plant!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • Lesson Learned on Integrity and Staying True to Yourself

    by Jaylen Brown

    A female and male student are standing arm-in-arm on a football field during homecoming. The female is wearing a long gold gown. The male is wearing a dark suit with a black shirt. They each wear a sash that says, “Homecoming Court”.

    Maintaining integrity and staying true to yourself may seem like something our parents would tell us as children, however I learned that even at a college age, I am still being tested on that. No matter your age – doing the right thing can be difficult for anyone, especially if it means risking something desirable. I would like to share two similar yet different experiences that I’ve had, one from high school and one from college, and what I learned from them.

    The Time I Won “King”

    It was my senior year in high school when I decided to run for Homecoming King – just for the fun of it. Considering that I was homeschooled until the 11th grade, I felt that I had no chance of winning that title. Unlike the rest of the Homecoming Court, I was no football captain or class president. In fact, as someone who was relatively new to the school, it was hard for me to find friends in general (especially coming in as an upperclassman). Thus, I started by sitting with those who sat alone at lunch. I found that most of them did not want to be alone either, so I decided to sit with someone new every lunch period to keep them company. To my surprise, I won the title of “Homecoming King,” and realized it was because many saw me as an underdog for being different: the only minority, the first band member, a new student, etc. However, I did not allow this new title to change who I was as a person. So, I continued to find people who sat by themselves to sit with. Many were confused as to why I was sitting with them if I was given the title of “king,” but I reminded them that this title doesn’t make me any better than them. We are all royalty in our own way.

    The Time I Lost “King”

    It is now my senior year in college, and I recently decided to run for Homecoming King again – just for the fun of it. However, things were different this time. My university has 70,000 students and we were not allowed to do any in-person campaigning, only on social media. Unfortunately, we did not have a Homecoming Court director to enforce the rules. Most of the Court followed the rules, but some decided to do in-person campaigning and were even forcing students to vote. I had to make a decision. I knew that I would inevitably lose the running if I relied on my network alone, but if I broke the rules and started forcing people to vote, then I could stand a chance! It was a win or lose situation! If I won, I would be making history, right? I mean, how cool would it be to become my school’s 50th Homecoming King? Who cares if I break the rules if others are doing it too? But I thought to myself... “is this title really worth losing my integrity and not staying true to myself?” I then made my decision – I would much rather lose that title than to lose myself.

    We are ALL “Kings” and “Queens”

    These are two different, yet very similar stories. Looking back on them now, it’s crazy to see how easy it can be to lose sight of yourself for the sake of things like glory, validation, or recognition. But looking back even further to my high school experience, I’ve realized that those labels don’t even matter! Being given the title of “King” might seem grand, but the truth is that we are all Kings and Queens in our own way. I learned that no matter what or how big the title, it is never worth losing your integrity and not staying true to yourself. Let us all remember that no title will make you more valuable than you already are.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • Holiday Spotlight: Cuban Christmas Traditions

    by Ana Cooper

    A nativity set belonging to the blog author.

    While winter holidays are cozy, chilly, relaxing times for many, Christmas traditions with Cubans is anything but a silent night. Many families will go out of town to their home countries to visit family or have the whole family come to see them. Here are some traditions we celebrate in my Cuban family in South Florida.

    Clean, Clean, and Clean Again

    You would think that Cuban moms and abuelas think we live in filth. If it is your turn to host this year, beware of the cleaning duties. You will have to clean things you have never thought of cleaning all throughout December. You may have to clean it twice. Bathroom essentials such as toothbrushes and topical medicines are not allowed to be seen. It must be good enough for the Three Kings and Santa. Otherwise, they won’t bring gifts.

    Navigating Nativity Scenes

    Most Hispanics identify as Christian. Cubans are predominantly Catholic, and we love our nativity sets. The bigger the better. Every year my parents must decide what room to flip around to accommodate the whole nativity scene, shepherds and all. There also might be a Baby Jesus in a manger somewhere special in the house. It is usually covered during Advent, the liturgical season before Christmas, to show that Christ has not come yet. In my house, my mom bought a bunch of straw from a craft store and had us put it in the manger whenever we did a good deed.

    Chaotic Calendars

    As multiple Christmas celebrations fill up the calendar, sometimes it feels more like Hanukah. With all the extended family that Cubans have, it is literally a fire hazard to put everyone together. You must separate everyone into their different subsets. Each of the four grandparents may have a party for that side of the family. And if you want to see any friends during the Christmas season, plan way ahead because the calendar fills up quickly. Oh, and don’t forget about St. Nicholas Day or Three Kings Day!

    Time for Cake 

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  • Gifts College Students Will Love

    by Sidney Li

    A graphic featuring a several colorfully wrapped gifts against a blue background.

    Holiday gift shopping can be extremely stressful and finding the right gift for a young adult that is entering college or is currently in college is definitely daunting. As a current college senior, I can even say it’s difficult to find a gift that is a balance of what a college student needs, wants, and will use too. Here are a few gifts I’ve received that I have used religiously in the past three years; hopefully this list will be helpful for holiday shoppers searching for a perfect gift for the college student in their life.

    Amazon Prime Student Membership

    This may sound obvious but having this membership has been a godsend as I’ve purchased a plethora of objects that I’ve needed last minute. Since many students do not have a car while living in dorms or have access to close malls, online shopping has saved me from many nervous breakdowns when I need something not immediately accessible.

    Portable Charger

    College students are always on the go so the last thing you’d want to have while out and about is a dead phone. ​​Having a portable battery charger provides the convenience of not having to worry about making sure to pack your charger each day and/or searching for an outlet when your phone is about to die.

    Insulated Water Bottle

    Continuing with students being on the go, having an insulated water bottle can keep my drinks cold for 24 hours or my hot drinks hot for 12 hours. I can stay hydrated in class, while studying, and while out and about. Plus, they’re dishwasher safe to make it such a low maintenance tool.

    Blue-Light Glasses

    Since I consistently use my laptop, iPad, and phone while studying, my screen time has exponentially increased in college. Having blue-light blocking glasses has lessened my eye strain and helped me regulate my sleeping schedule.

    Gift Card to Clothing Stores

    I never realized until coming to college how expensive business casual or professional clothing was as my mom bought them for me in high school. However, having few trustworthy professional outfits has allowed me to switch around for job fairs, interviews, and internships with ease.

    Trustworthy Laundry Hamper

    I know a laundry hamper doesn’t sound like an exciting gift for a college student, but you have no idea how convenient it is when I don’t have to worry about a laundry hamper breaking when carrying downstairs or somewhere outside. It makes doing a nuisance task a little more bearable when I have one less thing to worry about.

    Noise-Cancelling Headphones

    From walking around campus to class or studying, having a trust-worthy set of headphones to tune out the sounds of the hustle and bustle of public spaces makes my menial activities a little more fun. Noise-cancelling headphones not only shut out distractions, they can also be beneficial to use while working out, if they’re wireless.

    Planner

    Being organized has been a crucial aspect of my college career and I’ve religiously gone through three planners to organize my homework, quizzes, exams, extracurricular club meetings. While I like having a physical notebook, there are actually online ones that are free. (What college student doesn’t like free stuff?)

    Extra Long Charging Wire

    For some reason, having a six-foot charger has come in handy more than I’d like to admit, especially since outlets are in such high demand—no matter where I am on campus. No one realizes just how useful this is until they get one and can never go back.

    As you’re shopping for a college student/young adult, remember to try and balance fun and stylish with usability. Many college students are limited on space and will greatly appreciate something they can use every day to make their life a little easier.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • How to Find Your Place in College: Attend the Organization Fair

    by Hiren Gugnani

    A tri-fold display board with information on joining the Finance Society.

    If you're reading this, then congratulations! You are an accomplished student accepted into college, or maybe you are currently an underclassman. Either way, this is a big step towards your future, and it was all your accomplishments thus far that led you to this point. Now that you made it to college, it is understandable to feel overwhelmed with the amount of people and excitement going on. There is one event in the beginning of the semester that can help lead you in the right direction to find your place in the daunting environment you're now a part of—and that is your campus’s organization fair.

    Take it all in

    Whether or not your school holds it as an in-person event, it will likely be an overwhelming experience. I remember a large tent, with tables managed by crowds of overenthusiastic students standing idly by their tri-fold boards. Our event was divided by a multitude of categories: Cultural organizations, Sports, Community Service, Greek Life, Major-specific, you name it! I found success in clubs relating to my heritage as a minority student, as well as business centered clubs as a devoted Finance student. Think about your interests beforehand, and glance over the map or list of clubs to ensure you get time to see anything you were curious about.

    Remember to be yourself

    It can be hard to learn more about all the clubs and activities your school has to offer when it's presented all at once. In an effort to try and get the most out of the event, I took pictures of the tabling for those student organizations that I was even somewhat interested in. This allowed me to look on their websites or email them if I have any questions. If something even remotely interests you, attend their first meeting and see what it’s all about! The key is to not feel obligated to commit to anything if you find that it isn’t for you. These extracurriculars should be your escape from the pressures of classes; something to look forward to during the week.

    Become familiar with leadership

    Once you find yourself acquainted with a club that sparks your interest, look into leadership opportunities within the executive board. While this feels too early for internal board positions, such as the President and Vice President roles, there can often be representative spots available for freshmen specifically. Those are yours to take! Having a leadership position allows you to cement yourself to the organization. Instead of being a general member, you will have some sort of control that makes an impact with the added responsibility. Then comes the opportunity to showcase your leadership on your resume, pointing out to recruiters that you are strengthening your soft skills, while working on something you are passionate about.

    Make your commitments

    At the end of the day, there will be many choices to where you can spend your time when not attending classes and studying in college. Taking on these extracurricular activities gives you a way to hold yourself accountable and make an impact that will last longer than your four years in undergraduate education. Decide what is best for you, and not for others. You will likely meet lifelong friends by engaging in mutual interests, so be on the lookout for those who want to get to know you. Once your find your home base, your college campus will go from an enormous, daunting place to a comfortable array of opportunities.

    Pearson Students, when’s your school's activities fair? Will you be in attendance?

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog? If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started!

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  • The Collegiate Experience – COVID-19 Edition

    by Alexa Carlton

    A bright sunny day at a lake in Syracuse, New York, surrounded by trees brown, yellow, and orange leaves.

    If you are in college and anything like me, you will never forget the day March 13th, 2020. That was the day when my classes officially went online at Syracuse University. The reality set in that I no longer would be on campus developing my professional skills, while also creating strong relationships with the people around me. I knew that once August came, I would appreciate every second I had on campus. Syracuse University went with a hybrid class method. Although my experience did revolve around social distancing and mask wearing, I would not trade this school year for anything! I am here to tell you how I enjoyed my college experience during a pandemic and how you can, as well!

    Explore.

    I never really explored the city of Syracuse, New York until this year. It always seemed that I was super busy on campus and unable to leave. However, because of the pandemic, I found myself with a lot more free time. I encourage you to check out the area around your college campus - in a COVID safe way, of course! With proper mask wearing and social distancing, my roommates and I were able to go to fun places that we may have never had the chance to go! We hiked, ate at new restaurants, and explored!

    Be active!

    Personally, I do not find online classes to be much fun. One of my favorite parts of being at school is walking around and seeing familiar faces. Although it was more difficult to get out of my apartment this year, I certainly did not feel trapped. I found myself a running partner and went with her on daily runs. Not only were we able to get all around campus, but we had a fun time while doing so! Even if you are not a runner, I encourage going on walks around campus as this sure saved me!

    Get Involved!

    As crazy as this may seem, a simple Zoom call sometimes made my day. Even if you are not involved in many clubs, it is not too late! All the clubs and organizations I was involved with met on Zoom, but this does not mean the experience was not worthwhile. Often after a long day, it was nice to connect with my friends and classmates!

    The college experience has been vastly different this year than ever before. I have learned to value every moment and experience that I have on the Syracuse University campus. I hope with my tips give you some ideas to do the same on your campus!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us - click here to pitch your idea and get started! 
     

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  • Create a healthy transition to living off-campus

    by Brad Robison

    blog image alt text

    Even though classes at many U.S. universities will be virtual this Fall semester, students are still moving back and may be transitioning from living on-campus to moving elsewhere off-campus. While there is no clear formula for optimal success in adjusting to the change, here are a few tips and tricks that can help students live a happy, healthy, and efficient life in their off-campus residences.

    Choose the right housemates

    Selecting the right people to live with is objectively the most important factor to consider when moving off campus. Living with people you clash with will make your residence feel less like a home and more like a battleground. On the other hand, living with your best friends may not be ideal if you get easily distracted and are unable to create boundaries. Ultimately, the ideal housemate is someone you get along well with but recognizes that there are times for fun and times for productivity.

    Learn to grocery shop and cook for yourself

    One of my favorite aspects about living in a house is that I can shop and cook for myself. Until I moved off-campus, I had no idea how much I enjoyed visits to the grocery store. Cooking for yourself allows you to be in complete control of your diet and nutrition, as you are no longer bound to dining hall meals. To make cooking healthy and entertaining, I try to experiment with at least one new main ingredient and recipe each week.

    Consider your commute

    Sometimes living a short commute away from campus is unavoidable. Figuring out how to get to class each day can sometimes be stressful. While each situation is different, many options for transportation exist. Some may prefer a more active method like biking, while others may be more attuned to driving or taking public transportation. If you choose to drive, then carpooling is a great option. Whether with roommates or other off-campus residents, coordinating schedules to carpool can be very beneficial.

    Find your study spot

    One of the most challenging aspects with living away from campus is figuring out where your ideal study location is. For some, it may be as simple as a kitchen table. Others may prefer the outdoors or local coffee shops. Some may even decide they are most productive on campus at the library. Having a few spots where you are comfortable studying and rotating between them helps to boost your productivity outside of a traditional learning space.

    There is no singular formula for how to be successful when living away from campus. It ultimately comes down to each individual’s habits and personal preferences, and likely some trial and error. I hope these tips prove to be helpful for anyone making the transition into off-campus housing and creating a happy, healthy lifestyle outside of a traditional dorm.

     

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