Flattening the Curve while Earning a College Degree

On March 13, I packed up my belongings from my work desk at Northwest Vista College. I remember debating on whether or not I should keep a bag of pretzels in my drawer for when I come back to my work study job. I decided against it since they’d probably be stale by the time I got back. Spring break was about to begin and I was so ready for a week off. Little did I know a global pandemic was about to change our lives forever.

I remember receiving the email about the transition to remote classes. I was very skeptical at first thinking it would all be gone in no time and we would be told to go back to campus. About five months into quarantine, that memory is now laughable.

I was nervous to begin remote learning for many reasons. Both my brother and I are college students and we have one laptop that we share. This was a huge inconvenience since we had one class that was at the same exact time. He would use his phone to join his Zoom lecture while I would use the laptop. This went on for a while until I decided to get my own laptop. I am very grateful that I was able to buy myself a laptop. I know many students don’t have that type of privilege and accessibility.

Another fear that I had was not doing well in my courses due to distractions at home. One of the biggest distractions to me is my phone, so I came up with the plan to completely remove my phone from for my sight during Zoom lectures and homework time. It was really effective. I did fairly well in the spring semester and stayed organized despite the challenges.

For this upcoming semester, I want to stay focused and resilient. I think the best trait for humans to have is resilience. Especially in the midst of the chaos in the world. I will continue to do my part in order to flatten the curve while simultaneously earning a college degree. It’s so evident that academics and this pandemic go hand in hand. Without educators and the educated we wouldn’t know anything about COVID-19.

Overall I am glad that my family and I have stayed healthy during this time and I am also grateful for the ability to continue my education from home. And on a brighter note, I am also thankful that I took that bag of pretzels home and saved it from rotting in my desk!

By NVC Student Haneen Rafati

How to Survive on a College Budget

Saving MoneyAt this point of the year, we are all familiar with the “broke college student” phrase that has been our excuse for mainly everything regarding finances.

With holidays approaching and the semester coming to an end, our brains are filled to the brim and our wallets are…not. I will be sharing my personal tips on how I have limited my spending habits and have managed to live through a tight college budget.

  • Manage your moneyCash Course is an easy-to-use guide with tips for the best and most useful financial choices. It’s free to make an account and a really simple way to manage your money.
  • Utilize student discounts or free student awards– Amazon is such an easy website to get carried away on and “splurge” so, do this at your own risk when applying for their free student 6-month Prime membership. Most items come with free shipping as well!
  • Rent EBooks instead– Textbooks are expensive, save some money by renting an eBook instead. My textbook for one of my classes is $60 for a brand new one, $45 to rent a used one and only $30 to rent the eBook. Prices may vary regarding different textbooks, just remember to be financially smart and get something you can afford.
  • Build your credit– The Discover student credit card is so easy to apply for, as long as you’re a student, more than likely you’ll get it. You should use it sparingly and it’s a good thing to have in case of emergencies. The minimum payment for most credit cards depends on the purchase, but it typically ranges around $35-$70. This credit card has the first 6 months with no interest and also gives you 5% cash back if you submit your GPA!
  • Living at home is okay– Although different people may deal with different circumstances, living with your parents saves a lot of money and you shouldn’t feel any pressure or rush when it comes to moving out.

As I continue to pursue my higher education, keeping these simple tips in mind have been very useful to me. I can only hope that it can possibly help future or current students in the same situation.

By NVC Student Haneen Rafati

 

 

Tips to Save Money

Saving money can be a drag and a very hard decision for most young college students.

I have had plenty of experience when it came to saving up money and only buying what is necessary at the moment. Here are three ways you can save some money and have extra for when you need it.

Home Cooked Meals

I am sure we all have a friend who wants to go out to eat like every day right? Well don’t follow that trend, home cooked meals are way cheaper and they can feed you for longer than just one set meal. The price for an 8-pieces of pork chops is less money than a combo meal at Mc Donald’s.

Start a savings account

If you have a job while taking some classes at a university or community college, you should start a savings account so you don’t spend all your money too fast or lose it. Money goes fast when you are in college –  food, clothes, and video games burn a hole in your pocket really fast! Putting $50 away every check can help you if you break your phone, lose an expensive book, or face an emergency.

Do not buy cable

From my very own experience, do not buy cable. It is a waste of at least $120 every month. Think about it,  we spend most of our time on Netflix or Amazon, right? Online streaming is the new wave, and you can find all your favorite shows online. The extra money you have from not paying for cable can go to a new laptop or on a cool spring break vacation.

Written by NVC Student Erik Providence

Saving Money

3 Tips to Balance College & Work Life

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As a returning college student, I have been struggling with figuring out how exactly to get through the semester with a 4.0 while still maintaining my home and work life.

The hardest part of this balancing act is keeping from drowning and giving up completely. I had a bit of a meltdown recently and that is when I decided to figure something out. The following tips are what I feel are the most helpful tips I have received from family, friends, and my experiences:

  • Organize, organize, organize – In order to keep your life together, it is imperative that you are organized. You should have a planner. Every week, write down all of the assignments, exams, quizzes, projects, etc. that are due that week and look at that planner EVERY day, twice a day. When you are organized with your school work, it is less likely that you will forget to complete something.
  • Make sure you give yourself at least one ENTIRE day off from everything – For me, this day is Saturday. Saturdays are my no-work, no-school, ALL PLAY days! I make sure that anything I have due on Saturday is completed a day in advance so I don’t have to log on, go in, or do anything for school or work. I use my Saturdays for relaxation and family.
  • Remind yourself every day that this is only temporary and it will all be worth it in the end. On the days when I feel like giving up or I am feeling guilty for not giving my daughter the attention she needs, I remind myself that this is only a temporary struggle. I think about the end of the road, when I am walking across the stage at graduation and seeing my daughter’s face smiling at me. I remind myself that I am doing this so she will be proud of me and so she can have everything she deserves in life.

We are all going to experience some sort of struggle in our college careers, but just remember – in order to get to the goal, you have to get through some struggles. That is what life is all about and that is how we become stronger in the end.

By NVC Student Christina Garcia