6 Awesome Hobbies for College Students to Take Up This Semester

6 New Hobbies for College Students to Take Up This Semester

Do you have any hobbies outside of school? If you’re like most of us, our hobbies include Netflix and killing time online But what if there was a better way to relieve stress on the weekends?

It’s important to pursue your own interests outside of the classroom. Hobbies not only add joy to your life but they make you a more interesting person. And if you’re worried you can’t afford to start a hobby, don’t let the student budget get in your way.

Check out these 6 affordable and fun hobbies for college students…give one a try. What’s the worst that could happen? You might even find your life’s passion. 😊

 

1. Start a Blog

Instead of spending your weekends mindlessly scrolling on social media (we all do it), what about starting a personal blog? There are two major benefits to blogging while you’re still in school.

First of all, if your future job interviewer sees you’ve taken the time to build your own website, they’re going to be impressed. It takes initiative, creativity, and perseverance to run a blog. You can also earn some money on the side!

Blogging lets you have an outlet to express yourself, but you also have the chance to get direct feedback from people who have the same interests as you. Ultimately, it’s a growing experience. And if you’re thinking about how you can’t start a blog because you don’t enjoy writing? I get it. You don’t have to write. You can start a vlog on YouTube or a micro-blog in the form of Instagram. Pick one and go for it — you can start in less than 1 hour!

6 Fun and Interesting Hobbies for College Students - Start a Blog in 1 Hour

How To Start A Profitable Authority Blog In Under One Hour: Write About What You Love, Create A Website, And Make Money

 

2. Cooking for Newbies

Why should you learn how to cook? After all, you have a dining plan and instant noodles to get by on, right? Here’s the truth. Once you graduate, you’re going to be on your own in the world. There are plenty of people who get by on takeout and frozen convenience food. While you have the option to eat any food you enjoy, you’ll get a lot more out of learning how to cook for yourself.

For one, it’s WAY cheaper. Second, we don’t have to tell you how much healthier it is for you. And lastly, once you learn how to become a decent cook, you’ll find out it tastes so much better than fast food!

I know it’s tough to cook in college, where both the space to cook and the funds are limited. Check out this 5-ingredient cookbook created just for students who are new to the kitchen:

6 Fun and Interesting Hobbies for College Students to Take Up This Semester - Learning to Cook

The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook: Easy, Healthy Recipes for the Next Four Years & Beyond

 

3. Brush Up on Your Trivia

Have you always been naturally curious? Then trivia is the perfect hobby for you; people who are great at trivia have a deep love of learning. They never stop absorbing knowledge. Likewise, you’ll become awesome at winning Jeopardy.

There are trivia nights on campus but you’ll find them at bars off campus too — these are usually themed AND offer prizes.

6 Fun and Interesting Hobbies for College Students to Take Up This Semester - Trivia Night

Ultimate Book of Trivia: The Essential Collection of over 1,000 Curious Facts to Impress Your Friends and Expand Your Mind

4. Camping for College Students

Camping is the ultimate hobby for students. Why’s that? It’s an affordable way to get an escape. Quality time with your friends + relief from the hectic life on campus = win-win vacation. Not only do you get a chance to learn new skills, but you gain an appreciation for nature. Nothing brings you more peace than gazing at a star-studded sky with your friends by your side.

 

Likewise, you’ll have an excuse to chow down on amazing campfire treats… like s’mores. This cookbook below has incredible recipes for cooking outdoors (and sections that let you choose recipes by your cooking style).

6 Fun and Interesting Hobbies for College Students to Take Up This Semester - Camping

The New Camp Cookbook: Gourmet Grub for Campers, Road Trippers, and Adventurers

5. Pick Up an Instrument

If you’re a music lover, then this hobby is definitely worth giving it a shot. You don’t need to hire a teacher or buy a brand spanking new instrument either. You can teach yourself! In fact, some of the worlds greatest musicians were self-taught, like Jimi Hendrix and Prince. Even Paul McCartney was mostly self-taught.

And now we have YouTube to help us out. You can choose any instrument out there, but the guitar is a good place to start when you’re a student living in a small space. You can easily get a used guitar at a music store or off Craigslist.

6 Fun and Interesting Hobbies for College Students to Take Up This Semester - Learn an Instrument

Guitar: The First 100 Chords for Guitar: How to Learn and Play Guitar Chords: The Complete Beginner Guitar Method

 

6. Learn a New Language

Whether you’re already learning a foreign language in school — or studied one in high school — there are tons of benefits to taking up a new language! For starters, bilingual graduates gain a more competitive edge in the job industry.

And if you think you’re no good at linguistics? You can still learn. A friend of mine became determined to teach herself Japanese. Most of us didn’t take her seriously until she switched her major to Japanese studies. Today, she’s a full-time teacher who lives in Toyko, Japan.

Plus, studying a new language can actually make your brain sharper. And like everything else, you’ll only get better with practice. If you’ve been thinking about learning a new language, try to teach yourself the very basics before committing to a full course. You can use one of the Living Language books for a jumpstart.

6 Fun and Interesting Hobbies for College Students to Take Up This Semester

Living Language Italian: Beginner to Advanced Course

25 Inspiring Quotes from Books to Motivate You

String Lights on Book - 25 Quotes from Books to Motivate You

Ever noticed how some books stay with you long after you’ve read them?

Remarkable books are enchanting. Think about the last captivating book that you read. What made it so unforgettable?

These are books that draw you and let you escape into another world. You can’t bring yourself to put it down. They have the power to entertain, teach, and inspire us.

Sometimes a sentence jumps out at you because it sheds insight into your life. Here are 25 memorable quotes from books about life — for the times when you need a little extra inspiration and motivation.

 

25 Quotes from Books to Motivate and Inspire You

1. People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.

Harper Lee from To Kill a Mockingbird

 

2. “Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.”

Mindy Kaling from Why Not Me?

 

3. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.

Chuck Palahniuk from Diary

 

4. “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it.”

Daniel Kahneman from Thinking, Fast and Slow

 

5. All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.
Mitch Albom from The Five People You Meet In Heaven

 

6. Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.
Dan Brown from Digital Fortress

 

7. “Our words have power, but our actions shape our lives.”

Rachel Hollis from Girl, Wash Your Face

 

8. “Forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying, ‘You’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.’ It’s saying, ‘You don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.'”


Jodi Picoult from The Storyteller

 

9. “No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.”

Victor E. Frankl from Man’s Search for Meaning

 

10. “No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side. Or you don’t.”

Stephen King from The Stand

 

11. “There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.”

Kate Douglas Wiggin from New Chronicles of Rebecca

 

12. “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”

John Steinbeck from East Of Eden

 

13. “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

Paulo Coelho from The Alchemist

 

14. “We study history not to know the future but to widen our horizons, to understand that our present situation is neither natural nor inevitable, and that we consequently have many more possibilities before us than we imagine.”

Yuval Noah Harari from Sapiens

 

15. “Maybe life doesn’t get any better than this, or any worse, and what we get is just what we’re willing to find: small wonders where they grow.”

Barbara Kingsolver from Small Wonder

 

16. “The opposite of fear is love – love of the challenge, love of the work, the pure joyous passion to take a shot at our dream and see if we can pull it off.”

Steven Pressfield from Do the Work

 

17. “You may be born into a family, but you walk into friendships. Some you’ll discover you should put behind you. Others are worth every risk.”

Adam Silvera from They Both Die At The End

 

18. “It was impossible to feel alone in a room full of favorite books. I had the sense that they knew me personally, that they’d read me cover to cover as I’d read them.”

Riley Redgate from Noteworthy

 

19. “The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.”

Amy Poehler from Yes, Please

 

20. “Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi from Flow

 

21. “And it occurred to him that there were two parts to being a better person. One part was thinking about other people. The other part was not giving a toss what other people thought.”

Mark Haddon from A Spot of Bother

 

22. “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”

Dale Carnegie from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

 

23. “What you do for yourself dies with you when you leave this world, what you do for others lives on forever.”

Ken Robinson from The Element

 

24.“Read, learn, work it up, go to the literature. Information is control.”

Joan Didion from The Year of Magical Thinking

 

25. “Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”

Angie Thomas from The Hate U Give

 

3 Effective Study Methods for Acing Your College Midterms

3 Effective Study Methods for Acing Your College Midterms

College midterms are right around the corner. Cue all the panic.

Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, midterms can bring on intense amounts of pressure. Here are our three favorite pieces of advice for acing your college midterms (without heaps of stress).

Take Study Breaks with This Simple Trick

Are you cramming a ton of material into a weekend study session?

It might sound simple, but make sure to factor in plenty of breaks if you want to retain the material better. Ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique? It’s a time management method that can help you get the most out of your study session.

Here’s how it works. You break your study material down into smaller, more manageable chunks (and it really works). The Pomodoro Technique is easy:

  • You pick a task, like a few chapters you need to read or an outline you plan to write. 
  • Set a timer for 25 minutes. During the next 25 minutes, you have to promise yourself that you won’t do anything BUT that task. 
  • Work on the task without any interruptions until the timer goes off. When the timer goes off, take a quick break. Spend 5 minutes doing anything but work, whether it’s stretching or grabbing some more coffee. 
  • After your 5-minute break, start the timer again for the next task. Rinse and repeat. Once you’ve done this 4 times, take a longer break for 20 or 30 minutes.

It works because our brain needs rest in order to concentrate. It’s also easy to get sidetracked by our phone, Netflix, or stress. Using the Pomodoro method helps eliminate some of those distractions.

You can manually set a timer on your phone. I personally use a free app called BeFocused so I don’t have to mess with a timer, but either way works! BeFocused is an iPhone app, but if you have an Android use you can use something like Pomodoro Timer.

 

3 Effective Study Methods for Acing Your College Midterms

Don’t Forget to Breathe

Is breathing something you consciously think about? It can save you from stress.

We’re slammed during midterm season. When we’re hit with the overwhelm of studying for everything at once and our to-do list is packed with endless tasks, we forget how to take deep breaths.

Not only can meditation help you remember your material better, but you also don’t need to spend a ton of time doing it to reap the benefits. I was terrible at meditating when I first tried it. I use the free version of the app Headspace to help (available via iPhone and Android). All it takes is three minutes and you instantly feel better!

Even if you’re not interested in meditation, focus on deep breathing when insane amounts of stress begin to hit you. Here’s how you do it:

  • Place your hand on your stomach. Take a deep breath in through your nose until you feel your stomach begin to rise. Note: you want the air to enter all the way into your belly instead of just your chest.  
  • Breathe out through your nose. But make sure your exhale is even longer than your inhale (this is essential). If you inhale for 4 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds. 
  • Repeat for 3-5 minutes! Try it out; you’re guaranteed to instantly feel calmer and less stressed.

3 Effective Study Methods for Acing Your College Midterms

 

Start Your Study Plan Now

Don’t wait to get started! Figure out your study plan a couple weeks in advance.

It seems like professors all schedule their midterms at the same time, right? Enter panic mode.

If you want to avoid major anxiety this semester, get your study schedule nailed down now.

Planning out what days you’ll study, creating your own study guides, and organizing the material will help you prioritize every class. This way you’re not devoting all of your time and energy to just one class.

Your personal study guides can be a simple outline of key topics and ideas you plan to study. Getting a game plan together now will help clear your head.

Why is Crazy Rich Asians Important? Here are 5 Reasons to Read the Novel.

It’s already crushed tons of records over the last month, but Crazy Rich Asians shows no signs of slowing down its box office domination yet.

The mainstream rom-com has become the biggest summer hit in this genre since 2015. Why all the buzz? Why is Crazy Rich Asians important? Well, it’s significant for two reasons. In the first place, Crazy Rich Asians is the first Hollywood studio film with an all-Asian cast in over two decades.

Not to mention, it’s an opportunity for us regular folk to indulge in the lush, over-the-top fantasy lifestyle of the mega-rich.

How can you pass that up? It’s pure, fun escapism.

If you haven’t had a chance to catch the movie, go see it! Meanwhile, you should also check out the bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan. If you enjoyed the movie, you’ll love reading the books. Just be warned: they’re highly addictive.

If you aren’t familiar with the novel yet you probably want a little backstory, right?

The plot follows a young couple, Nick and Rachel. They’ve been dating for two years in the States, but Nick wants to bring Rachel to stay with his family in Singapore for the summer. When they arrive in Singapore, Rachel discovers her boyfriend is crazy rich.

Here are 5 reasons why you should read Crazy Rich Asians (and the rest of the trilogy).

 

1. RICH CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

There are a bazillion characters to keep track of in this book. But they’re highly entertaining! Nick comes from a huge family, but as you get further along in the book you start to recognize everyone by their personality and how they’re all connected.

The novel digs deeper into the character development–it really fills in those gaps that weren’t fleshed out in the movie. While I personally enjoy Nick and Rachel’s love story, his family members are what make the story hilarious.

 

2. YOU’LL GET SUCKED IN BY THE DRAMA

If you think your family is out there wait until you meet Nick Young’s circle of relatives. They’re unwelcoming toward Rachel, to say the least. Nick’s family believes she’s in it for the money– they refuse to accept her because she’s an American. This leads to a whole lot of drama and entertainment from everyone.

And if you have trouble keeping up with the zillion characters in his family? There’s a family tree to help you follow along.

 

3. PEEK INTO ANOTHER CULTURE

The author, Kevin Kwan, includes snippets of Malay language throughout the book. This is one reason why I highly recommend the print version of this novel: He offers translations via footnotes throughout the book. On the Kindle version, these notes can appear of out of order.

Not only is the book rich with language, but you get to look at another culture. One that I didn’t previously know much about. Crazy Rich Asians lets you imagine the beautiful landscapes, mouth-watering food, and designer clothing of the wealthy elite in Singapore.

 

4. RICH AND DESCRIPTIVE DETAILS

Crazy Rich Asians paints an impressive portrait of opulence and culture. Seriously, you’ll be dying to taste all of the food he describes. You can see the exotic, vivid landscapes come to life across the pages. The glitz of luxury makes this book the perfect escape.  

 

5. IT’S AN EASY AND LIGHTHEARTED READ

Whether you need a break from the whirlwind of school or just want to read something amusing, this novel is a breeze to get through. You could easily read this in a day. Between the fantasy and drama, I couldn’t put it down.

It’s perfect to take along as a vacation read or you can save it for a rainy Saturday. And once you finish? Trust me, you’ll have questions. It gets even better with the sequels, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the movie while it’s still in theaters and grab a copy of the book today!

5 Inspirational Books for College Students: Freshman to Senior Year

5 Inspirational Books for College Students: Photo of two women studying

Between classes, studying, work and a personal life–college is a serious balancing act. No matter what year you’re in.

For instance, everything feels foreign during freshman year. You’re encountering new situations and the exhilarating experience of being on your own for the first time. It’s exciting…but you probably have a lot of questions.

But what about when you reach your junior or senior year? Once more, you’re close to a huge life transition. Now you’re faced with thoughts about your potential future path.

Here are 5 inspirational books every college student should have around for those times when you need a pick-me-up.

 

Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate

5 Inspirational Books for College Students

We’re all connected online in today’s world. In fact, most of us are on at least 1-2 social media networks (if not more). Social media is fun, entertaining, and an excellent way to stay in touch with your friends.

Especially since college can mark the first time you’ve ever lived away from your hometown.

But what about the flip side of social media? Like cyberbullying. Privacy concerns. Safety threats.

It can happen to anyone if you’re not careful. Shame Nation covers some pretty groundbreaking territory. The authors, Scheff and Schorr, explore the intense backlash and nastiness people can face on social media.

She uses incidents like the 2016 presidential election and high-profile tragedies in recent years to demonstrate how we communicate has changed.

And it’s powerful.

 

The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College

5 Inspirational Books for College Students

Are you the new kid on campus? Pick up a copy of this book.

Moving into your dorm is thrilling, but once your parents leave? It hits you. You’re alone in a (tiny) room living with a total stranger. It’s totally normal to feel a little homesick in this moment, even if you get along perfectly with your roommate.

The Naked Roommate contains letters, stories, and advice from students who’ve been in your shoes before. Some of the advice might seem obvious but most of the tips are great reminders–they cover just about any topic or challenge you could run into at school.

 

How to Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students

5 Inspirational Books for College Students

Imagine a straight-A college student. What do you think of first?

Many of us picture someone with their head down in a book, studying in every moment of free time. Or we think of a high-achiever in school on a full scholarship. Someone who is obsessed with their GPA.

These scenarios might be true for many people. But what if the key to success in college was simply thinking outside of the box?

Inside this book, you’ll find the strategies used by real-life students to become standout students. Their advice is unique, no-fluff, and unpredictable.

 

Freshman Year of Life

5 Inspirational Books for College Students

Picture your first year of life away from school. For good.

It’s an exciting thought, but let’s be real–it’s a little intimidating too. You’re trying to find your place in a new professional environment. Maybe you’re moving to a new city. And dating? It can get pretty complicated.

The Freshman Year of Life is a light-hearted and entertaining read. It’s full of short essays from young college graduates, making it a great book to have handy when you need a quick pick-me-up for inspiration.

Their stories are honest and relatable. Each essay offers practical advice that’s perfect for any current students, those who are about to graduate, or recent graduates about to enter the “real world” for the first time.

 

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now

5 Inspirational Books for College Students

Your 20’s is a rollercoaster ride.

You get to share the fun experiences of your twenties…but it can also be a little overwhelming. Sometimes we feel a little lost in the world or unsure of ourselves.

According to author Dr. Meg Jay, your twenties mean something. In fact, they’ll change your life. In a world where we’re constantly told to live in the moment, this book offers a different perspective on life as a twenty-something today.

What’s her point? While we’re still very young in our twenties, we have the chance to build the foundation for the rest of our lives. Dr. Jay covers that in terms of our career and personal lives.  

6 Must-Have Tech Gadgets for College Students

6 Must-Have Tech Gadgets for College Students

Seriously, why do college checklists have so much stuff on them?

When some of them have upwards of 150 items, how do you know what you actually need to bring along to school?

Obviously, you need school supplies, textbooks, clothing, and shower gear. But to be 100% honest, outside of your basic living essentials…you probably need less than you think.

Especially when it comes to school supplies–I didn’t use half of the things that I first brought along to college.

Your dorm room or apartment will be small and you won’t have a lot of room to store these things. The less you bring, the less clutter you have (which means less time you spend on cleaning).

However, there are a few tech items that will make your life WAY easier away from home. Let’s take a quick look.

6 Best Tech Gadgets for College Students in 2018

 

1. Portable Phone Charger

Let’s be real–we’re on our phones all the time. It doesn’t take long to drain the battery. The only problem is, your schedule tends to be all over the place in college.

You could have some days with back-to-back classes and then you’re heading to work straight from your last class. Even if you DO have breaks in between your classes, your dorm room or apartment might not be anywhere close.

You’ll end up stopping for food in between classes or hanging out the library to study. It just might not make sense to go back to your room during the day.

That’s where portable chargers come in. This one is lightweight and charges your phone incredibly fast.

 

2. Lap Desk

My parents gifted me a lap desk before I went off to college. At first, I kind of laughed at it. The lap desk didn’t really seem necessary because I already had a desk in my room. However, it turned out to be a total game-changer.

Sometimes you just don’t want to get out of bed.

Or it could be the total opposite.

Maybe you’re getting major cabin fever and need to escape your room for the common area. I frequently met up with my neighbors and friends in the commons space to study together or work on homework. My lap desk offered a sturdy surface so I could get work done from anywhere. This lap desk is less than $20, holds your laptop, and has a space for your tablet.

 

3. Portable Speaker

Whether you have friends over for a movie night or want to hang out with some background music, you want a compact, portable speaker for your room.

Do yourself a favor and get a speaker that’s compatible with most mobile devices via Bluetooth, in case you want to let somebody else play DJ for the night.

This speaker is small, shockproof, and water-resistant. Perfect for your new shared space. (It’s built to withstand outdoors and the elements, if that’s your thing!)

4. Noise-Canceling Headphones

Because nothing is worse than going to the library to study and being forced to listen to your neighbor’s loud conversation. Be in your own little world instead.

Noise canceling headphones are perfect for blocking out distractions. You can also listen to your favorite music, hit the gym, tune out your roommate, or watch videos at a normal volume–and eliminate any background noise.

 

5. Roku Streaming Stick

Your dorm room or new apartment doesn’t come with cable? Not a problem if you have a Roku Streaming Stick.

If you’re not familiar with Roku, it’s a remote device that allows you to stream  content from sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and more. they’re super affordable.

The only thing you have to do is connect your Roku stick into your Wi-Fi and to your TV. Before you buy this, double check to make sure that your TV has an HDMI port. That’s how you’ll connect the Roku to your TV.

Most TVs today come with this, but it just depends on how old your TV set is.

 

6. Kindle Tablet

While you can certainly get away without owning a tablet in college, it definitely has some advantages. Especially the Kindle. Here’s why.

You can save a TON of money on textbooks. Use a textbook search engine like Textbook Nova to find the cheapest version of your assigned textbooks. Another way to save is to use Amazon Textbook Rentals.

Their textbook rental service allows you to rent textbooks for an entire semester OR for however many weeks you think you’ll need it.

The great part about having a Kindle or Fire tablet is that you can immediately download these text books onto your tablet. Amazon also allows you to extend your rentals for 30 days or renew them again for another semester, in case you need to keep the textbook around for a little longer.

 

5 Practical Digital Photography Books for Beginners

5 Best Photography Books for Beginners

Want to learn how to capture that perfect snapshot?

From shooting portraits to getting the most out of your lighting, these books will provide the novice photographer with an awesome foundation.

Already have some experience? You’ll get an excellent refresher on how to take your shots to the next level.

 

5 Best Photography Books for Beginners: Learn How to Take Photos Like a Pro

 

The Perfect Portrait Guide – How to Photograph People  by Michael Busselle

5 Best Photography Books for Beginners

What’s your favorite subject for shooting photos?

If you’re like us, your camera roll is full of photos of your friends, families and…selfies (of course). This book is an awesome introduction to capturing better photos of people.

The Perfect Portrait Guide covers everything from snapping casual photos to taking shots in different light settings. Although, I want to note something. This book was written a little over 15 years ago, so it covers film camera and not digital cameras. However, I thought the advice still applied to shooting great portraits with digital photography.

You’ll find inspiration in the stunning examples of composition, whether you’re an experienced amateur or total newbie.

 

Better Photo Basics: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Taking Photos Like a Pro by Jim Miotke

5 Best Photography Books for Beginners

The author, Jim Miotke, created this guide based on his experience as a professional photographer and teaching photography online. This book offers the perfect introduction for those of you who are new to photography. 

It’s jam-packed with gorgeous photos. Even better, Miotke includes a chapter of these photos and demonstrates the camera settings used to take them.

He’s a great teacher. The book is simple and easy to follow, breaking down the basic settings on your digital cameras (like the various modes and other automatic settings). The best method for improving your photography skill is to practice, right? You’ll discover that Better Photo Basics includes assignments so you can get out there and use his advice.

 

Picture Perfect Posing: Practicing the Art of Posing for Photographs and Models (Voices That Matter) by Roberto Valenzuela

5 Best Photography Books for Beginners

Written by Roberto Valenzuela–the author of Picture Perfect Practice–this photography guide is loaded with useful tips and tricks. Valenzuela wrote it based on his philosophy. Deliberate practice is what leads to photography skills and achievement (not talent). Therefore, you can become a great photographer too–if you work at it over time.

Picture Perfect Posing is incredibly detailed and you’ll have to read it more than once to fully absorb it. He shares his specific methodology for getting expression out of your models, positioning the body, and using emotion to capture jaw-dropping images.

In fact, Valenzuela even includes photos he took in the early days of his career. They demonstrate examples of bad posing techniques (so you can spot them when you’re shooting photos yourself).

 

Essential Elements of Portrait Photography: Lighting and Posing Techniques to Make Everyone Look Their Best by Bill Israelson

5 Best Photography Books for Beginners

This book lays down a solid foundation for photography, teaching the core skills for shooting better photos of people. Bill Israelson explains everything from your equipment basics to shooting inside a studio.

He offers a step-by-step process for capturing that perfect shot. Even if you’re a practiced amateur photographer, you’ll gain a lot of useful advice from here. Israelson breaks down those complicated photography methods and theories into simple, practical steps.

Inside this book, you’ll discover how to approach lighting based on different situations. You’ll learn how to handle light sources in every setup, which will instantly make people look better in your photos.

 

Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera by Bryan Peterson

5 Best Photography Books for Beginners

Getting better at photography is ALL about experimenting with your camera.  

If you’re ready to take your photos beyond the automatic settings, this is the book for you. Bryan Peterson breaks down the complexities of your camera and teaches you how to take powerful, beautiful images in manual mode.

You’ll want to come back to this book over and over. I’m a hobby photographer who never really understood exposure settings before I read this book. I just edited it afterward! But now I know exactly what the exposure triangle is capable of capturing.

Peterson is a great teacher. He shares many stories in the first half of the book while offering insights into more practical concepts in the last half. I’d recommend this to anyone learning photography (especially if you’re scared of manual mode).

Remember:

The best method for improving your photography skills is to keep practicing. Now let’s get out there and create something awesome!

 

7 Good Beach Reads for Summer 2018

7 Good Beach Reads for Summer 2018

Ready to escape the “real world” this summer?

Whether you’re prepping for your next beach vacation or headed to your friend’s backyard pool, nothing beats resting by the water with a good book in hand.

We’ve rounded up some brand new releases (and a couple of classics) to take along with you this year on summer vacation.

Let’s take a look at some of the best summer reads of all time.

 

1. The Perfect Couple – by Elin Hilderbrand

7 Good Beach Reads for Summer 2018

Elin Hilderbrandoften referred to as “The Queen of the Summer Beach Read”is releasing her latest novel just in time for your summer break this year.

The story starts out with your typical wedding season in Nantucket. But right before the ceremony starts? The soon-to-be bride is murdered and suddenly everyone in the wedding ceremony has become a potential suspect. Hilderbrand’s new book has it all, from mystery and suspense to romance.

 

2. The High Season – by Judy Blundell

7 Good Beach Reads for Summer 2018

Looking for a book full of laughs? Judy Blundell’s new release is packed with both drama and entertainment.

(If you’re an Elin Hilderbrand fan, you’ll probably enjoy unwinding with this book as well.)

The story follows Ruthie Beamish, a divorced mom with a house in the Hamptons. She rents her beach house to guests each summer so she can continue to afford her beloved home.

Meanwhile, a new guest arrives this year that threatens to steal Ruthie’s entire lifeincluding her friends, family, and ex-husband.

 

3. The High Tide Club – by Mary Kay Andrews

7 Good Beach Reads for Summer 2018

This book became an immediate New York Times bestseller when it was released last month.

Are you intrigued by scandal and tales from the glamorous era of dinner parties in the 1940s? You’ll definitely want to take this one along with you on your next trip. Nothing beats the fabulous stories from this bygone era.

Mary Kay Andrews is known for her great summer beach reads, and the story of Josephine Warrickthe eccentric 90-year-old heiressis no exception.

 

4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: A Novel – by Gail Honeyman

7 Good Beach Reads for Summer 2018

Eleanor Oliphant doesn’t care who it isshe doesn’t want to socialize with anyone.

And she’s perfectly okay with that.

The protagonist of Gail Honeyman’s novel is a relatable character for anyone who has ever felt like they’re the epitome of awkward moments or saying the wrong thing.

Reese Witherspoon is a huge fan of this one! You’ll notice she recommended the novel for her book club pick, but Reese loved it some much she’s planned to turn it into a major movie release.

 

6. When Life Gives You Lululemons – by Lauren Weisberger

7 Good Beach Reads for Summer 2018

Remember the hit The Devil Wears Prada? Lauren Weisberger authored the infamous book that became the wildly popular filming starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway.

She’s back this summer with her latest book…and it follows one of Lauren’s favorite characters from The Devil Wears Prada: ex-assistant Emily Charlton.

Emily has moved on from the world of Vogue to run a PR firm in Hollywood, but she’s run out of clients and needs to sign a new one. Fast. Except after she signs up to represent A-list supermodel Karolina, Emily discovers her latest client is full of shocking behavior and scandal.

 

7. Surprise Me – by Sophie Kinsella

7 Good Beach Reads for Summer 2018

Ever felt like you’ve been in a relationship rut? That’s what happens to Sylvie and Dan.

They’ve been married for 10 years when they start to realize their relationship has is sliding down the slippery slope of TOO comfortable territory.

Fearing they’re at the beginning of a boring marriage, Sylvie and Dan decide to start surprising each other. This light-hearted novel is packed with silliness and humoronce their little surprises start to backfire.

 

7. Tell Me Lies – by Carola Lovering

7 Good Beach Reads for Summer 2018
Excited to finally break free from the home where she grew up, Lucy Albright decides to embrace the wild rollercoaster ride of college life.

It’s everything she had been hoping for…but things quickly turn chaotic when she meets Stephen DeMarco.

They fall for each other fast. However, Lucy knows he’s hiding something. What could Stephen’s big secret be? You’ll have to take this book with you to find out.

Photo: by rawpixel

The Best Summer Jobs for College Students in 2018

Best Summer Jobs for College Students in 2018

Can I be totally honest with you?

Getting good grades in college isn’t THE most important goal for an undergraduate student.

Look, graduating with honors is an incredible achievement. If you plan to apply to grad school or continue your education, earning high grades is your main focus. But you know what else is equally valuable, yet less discussed?

Having work experience.

If you’ve never gained any work experience before graduating, you’ll find the job search to be pretty tough. According to the NACE’s Job Outlook 2017 survey, more than 90% of employers prefer to hire candidates with work experience. 65% of that group prefer candidates to have relevant work experience to the job they’re applying for.   

With this in mind, summer is the perfect time to find a seasonal job. Plus, it never hurts to earn some extra cash!

So what type of work should you look for as a student? Here are 6 summer jobs suited for college students in 2018 (even if you have no experience).

6 Summer Jobs for College Students

Best Summer Jobs for College Students in 2018

1. Tutoring

Tutoring is awesome work for a student. It’s flexible and can pay pretty well for a part-time gig, especially depending on your location. To make your summer job even more beneficial, tutor students in a subject that’s related to your studies.

Tutoring companies are often looking for K-12th grade tutors, and the pay usually starts at $25 per hour. You can also seek tutoring positions for the ACT or SAT exams–these can pay up to $50-60 per hour!

2. Office Temp Job

While working in an office doesn’t sound like a fun summer job, you get the opportunity to add valuable experience to your resume.  Especially if your field will likely lead you to an office job.

There are a ton of positions in any company that works out of an office, but without any experience, you should be looking for temp jobs for entry level positions, like data entry, administrative assistant, or receptionist. You can search for temp agencies in your area or apply to temp jobs on your own search using Indeed, LinkedIn, or even Craigslist.

3. Student Research Assistant

Want to learn on the job and keep your brain refreshed over summer break? Research assistant positions can pay anywhere from $10-18 per hour. You develop skills like communication, critical thinking, and how to analyze data.

If you plan to continue your education after undergrad school, student research assistant jobs look great on your resume.

4. Retail Job

Unless you’re a fashion major, you might be wondering how retail applies to your future. But don’t knock it right away. Retail jobs offer a lot of flexibility, and the summertime is a major hiring season for retailers. Plus, you can quickly move up the ranks in a retail job.

For example, I know a grad student who took a part-time sales position during the semester. She was a hard worker and quickly earned a small promotion. Not even two months later she was offered a temporary management position for the summer.

Retail doesn’t have much to do with this student’s future path, however, she can show growth in a company while speaking to leadership and other transferable skills management offers you.

5. Tech Job

The tech industry is booming–get your foot in the door! Tech jobs don’t have to be about web development and programming (though those are great skills for any graduate to have).

They can vary across a wide range of industries, including marketing, social media, and software engineering. Breaking into the tech industry is a worthwhile opportunity for every job candidate.

6. Internship

It’s not too late to still get that summer internship…if you act fast. Companies are still posting internship opportunities, even though we’re in the first week of June. Check out Indeed.com and LinkedIn.

The upside to this is the hiring process will likely be faster because they’re looking to fill these internship spots–and you win the oppotunity to gain direct experience in your field.

5 Cheap Summer Vacation Trips for College Students

5 Cheap Summer Vacation Trips for College Students

Summer is here. Have you made any vacation plans yet?

While Netflix binges might seem irresistible, you won’t create memories or lasting friendships on the couch. Make this summer your most exciting one yet and build your own adventure!

Don’t think you can afford to take a vacation? I know the feeling, but sometimes a small adventure can become a thrilling experience. You can plan that graduation trip or weekend getaway with your friends, even if you don’t have tons of money to spend.

Here are 5 summer vacation ideas for college students in the US.

 

1. Go Camping

Take a camping trip with your friends for a getaway that everyone can afford. And the best part? You won’t even have to travel far. Every state has national parks you can take advantage of for a short road trip.

Check out the rules for the park you want to visit because each one will vary on the their rules and pricing. I’ve gone camping for as little as $3 for a 3-day parking permit! Of course, major parks like Yellowstone can cost between $30-50 for a parking fee, but split between a group of friends it’s still way cheaper than booking a hotel or cabin.

Borrow a tent or invest in a lightweight tent, like this Amagoing tent (it fits up to 4 people). Tents can get pricey, but if you’re not a serious camper there’s no need to invest in an expensive option. You don’t need much to enjoy the camping experience. Just being surrounded by nature and relaxing with your friends is enough to refresh you from a long semester.

 

2. Tour Your Own City

Chances are, even if you live a major city you’ve never experienced everything it has to offer. It’s easy to put off local activities when you tell yourself you can just visit on another day, or maybe the novelty of some attractions wear off when they become overrun by out-of-towners.

But playing tourist in your own town IS actually cool and budget-friendly. (Not from the city? Take a short road trip to the closest city in your state!)

Make it a weekend escape. You can book a cheap hostel or pitch in on a hotel room with your friends–staying away from home will make the experience feel even more special. Plus, it helps you avoid further procrastination on the idea. You’re not going to waste the money you spent on booking a place to stay…

Afraid some well-known tourist spots might be too expensive? Don’t worry, most attractions offer student discounts.

5 Cheap Summer Vacation Trips for College Students

3. Spend the Day Hiking

Looking for some excitement with your crew this summer? Go on a hike!

Hiking makes an awesome day trip. It’s also an incredible workout…made even better by the fact you barely realize you’re working out. Hiking is practically free. The only tools a beginner needs to bring along are comfortable shoes, water, snacks, and sunscreen.

Research the trails in your area. You might be surprised to discover there are scenic hiking spots right in your backyard. Plan out your route ahead of time to convince your friends to join you on the trail.

4. Plan a Road Trip

Some of my favorite memories from college are linked to roads trips my friends and I took, even if it was just overnight or a 2-day getaway.

Here’s why you should take a road trip:

  • You find new places you probably wouldn’t discover otherwise.
  • Spending hours in a car encourages bonding and fun conversations.
  • You have the opportunity to become more spontaneous.

Still seems expensive? It doesn’t have to be a month-load road trip across the country. There are plenty of destinations in every region. Your road trip can be in your own state or just a few hours down the road. If there’s a group of you, pitch it on a hotel room.

If you’re traveling with one friend? Cut costs by camping out in your car with an air mattress that inflates to fit across the backseat of a car. I used this air mattress for a road trip through Colorado and we loved it.

Just keep in mind one thing. While last-minute decisions and stops along the way are part of the action, you should at least map out some road trip destinations in your region first.

5 Cheap Summer Vacation Trips for College Students

5. Go on a Food Tour

Who doesn’t love good food?

Plan a local “cheap eats” food tour this summer for a cheap trip. You can make one big run of it or spread it out over the summer. A good friend of mine loves the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. We made it a point to try as many food destinations from the show as possible in our area a couple of summers ago. Most of them were totally new to us and it felt good to support mom-and-pop restaurants.

Guy Fiere has a bestselling book series based on his show. This edition of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives is great to have on hand for traveling–the print version comes with a pullout map of the US that features every restaurant location.