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Jen Thames

I enjoy writing articles that inform, as well as entertain students. I have a background in SEO, as well.

5 Cures for Procrastination at College

Kick college procrastination habits and start getting IT DONE!

Many college students have a chronic problem with procrastination. They will wait to study for an exam until the last minute or can be seen rushing around their dorm room desperately trying to clean up before a visitor arrives. But why? Have you every stopped to ask yourself why do I procrastinate? Tired of staying up into all hours of the night cramming for that Chemistry test? Well, read on.

1. Understand the Psychological Causes of Procrastination

According to life coach Jeffery Combs procrastination is linked on a very deep level to several different psychological issues with the self including: perfectionism, a fear of being judged, a desire to be in control and self destructive behaviors. Luckily, procrastinators are rarely horrible procrastinators in all areas of their lives. They may be great at making travel arrangements or at paying their bills but miserable at getting a paper written. People basically procrastinate in the areas of their life where they may have self doubt- or with things they simply don’t want to do. Of course that thing doesn’t really go away and then they have to live with an underlying anxiety about getting the job completed at the last minute. The good news is that once students understand why they procrastinate they can start to cure the problem. Many times the roots of procrastination are related to performance issues and anxiety. Unfortunately, school work and studying is something that extends way back into our childhoods. It is one of the first ways in which we were judged and because of this it is the most common area of procrastination for college students. Isn’t that the worst!

2. Adopt Time Management Plans

Have a monster paper due in 2 weeks? Sit down and chart out exactly when to work on the thing. Time it out to the hour and then keep that appointment with yourself. Try to avoid interruptions and just sit there everyday until the paper is finished. Likely it will be finished ahead of schedule. Chronic procrastinators are usually quick and efficient workers. Once finished reward yourself with something. Working plans like this will start new patterns to get things done. Having the feeling that you have finished well ahead of schedule is a newly found freedom that will let you really relax and enjoy yourself.

3. Make Extra Time!

Maybe you don’t have any extra time but probably you do. Time isn’t constant so we can manipulate it! Look at all the parts of your life and simplify. Having trouble keeping your dorm room clean? Buy a few closet organizers. Then sort through the things you have and get rid of everything you don’t need. Simplifying everyday tasks like using a shower tote and a towel hook can shave off 5-10 minutes a day. Buying a kettle can be a huge time saver as can using a simple duvet set for your dorm room bedding so that you can just pull it up quickly in the morning and go. Limit your web surfing, game playing, TV watching and Facebook sessions to a set period of time everyday. Once the time is over, its time to go back to work!

4. Beware of the Time Vampires

These are people that can literally consume your life with prattle. They make great procrastination buddies. Sitting over a cup of coffee they will suggest maybe a little shopping or a quick trip to the mall. Don’t dump these friends just realize that they are literally sucking your life away. Once identified change your social habits with them and you will probably find hours and hours of new time to get your work done.

5. Dump the Drama

Procrastinators are often great drama queens. Having emotional breakdowns is just another excuse not to work. It also consumes enormous amounts of time and generally leads to absolutely nothing productive. Feel yourself starting to complain or rant? Take a few deep breaths or go to the gym and dump the feelings into a treadmill for 15 minutes. Procrastination, just like dramatic emotional episodes is often about control. If you can’t control the outcome then you don’t have a problem. Move forward and onward and focus on things that really matter!

Divine Dorm Room Holiday Décor

Decorate Your Dorm Room for the Holidays

Ok, it’s true; I can’t stand all those Christmas dorm room doors covered in wrapping paper dressed up to look like packages. Sooo cute. I’m also not a fan of small plastic trees, tinsel boas or singing Christmas Snoopys. Bah, humbug!

Rather than Grinch it this holiday season I’ve collected some cool, cheap and easy ways to decorate a college dorm room. The best part: the RA won’t go ballistic. None of these ideas will ruin the walls.

Why Decorate a Dorm Room?

Decorating, back up, holidays are all about sharing time with people you like. Any dorm room decorating you do, think about the communal aspect of the decorations. Decorating should make you and everyone else enjoy the season. A well-decorated space is one people want to hang out in and enjoy. Joy is what we are after, not Martha Stuart perfect.

Holiday Dorm Room Decorating

Any dorm room decorating starts with a good dorm room bedding set. Get a comforter set that is easy to mix and match so you can change the mood of your room with the seasons. Storage and some basic cleanliness are also a must. Then add a few Christmas pillows or a stuffed reindeer and you’re done.

Simple decorations go a long way. Decorate with things people can play with. Do you have a clothesline? Hang several felt Santa hats from it with green clothespins. Before you know it the hats will migrate out of your room and around the dorm. You can further decorate them with adjectives or names (glue pen and glitter) and attach a pair of funny glasses left over from Halloween.

If you just must tree, find an interesting broken tree branch (not a sappy evergreen). Place it in a kitty litter bucket and add water until it cements. String it with small white lights, candy canes for the taking and paper snowflakes or Origami ornaments. Adding silver spray paint (Do this out of the wind and outside!) to the bucket and the branches adds a little glam. Don’t have a lot of space? Downsize the whole project into a wide squat coffee cup. Add those cheap miniature balls (preferably to the base to cover up the cemented kitty litter).

Holiday Dorm Room Gifts

Again, the holidays are about community and having a good time! Reserve the common room one night for snow globe and holiday ball making. At the craft store buy:

  • A glue gun
  • White glitter
  • Plain clear (plastic) balls that you can remove the tops from
  • A bag of small seashells
  • Gold ribbon
  • Colored paint pens
  • Miniature balls, trees and decorations
  • A stack of Chinese food to-go containers

Tell people who want to make snow globes to bring a clean jam jar with the label removed. You or they can also pick up clear salt and pepper shakers from a restaurant supply store. Last, stop by a home improvement store and buy a bag of white silica sand.

Mix the sand with the glitter in a bowl and let people have at it. The glitter sand goes in the balls with a few shells. Put the top back on and add a ribbon. The small trees and balls can be glued to the inside tops of the jam jars for an instant snow globe. The salt and pepper shakers are the coolest- they are available pre-made at Anthropologie for $18.00 a piece. The paint pens are for adding personalization. When done- the creations go into the food to-go containers, add a bow and presto- instant dorm room presents.

Holiday Dorm Room Food

Smell and taste is a huge part of holiday decor. A bag of Christmas scented potpourri in a bowl is an easy touch that will not overpower a small dorm room. A candy bowl is another favorite. Make it fun by ordering old time candy like zots online. Mix the zots sparingly with regular candy and watch as your friends start searching for them. There are also dozens and dozens of recipes that you can make up quickly in a dorm room kitchen. Here is one of my favorites. No baking needed and really a sophisticated cake when finished: You will need:

  • 1 premade angle food cake round from a decent market
  • 1-3 T Instant coffee
  • 1 quart old fashion heavy whipping cream
  • 3-6 T white sugar
  • 1-bag walnuts
  • A cake plate and a hand mixer to mix the cream (no, cool whip won’t do!)

Beat the cream until almost firm, add 1 T instant coffee and a little cream in a cup until dissolved then add the dissolved coffee and 4 T sugar (or more) to the cream and finish beating until the cream holds strong peaks. To assemble the cake: cut the angle food cake in half and ice with the coffee whipping cream placing walnut pieces on the inside layer, on the top and around the edge of the cake. Refrigerate until time to eat.

Even the Grinch liked cake!

Beware, the Ex-lax Fish: Science you can really sink your teeth into

Science helps uncover fish fraud that is making people sick

Just when you think there can’t possibly be anything to get you through Chem. 101, here’s a bit of inspiration! A couple of young reporters (Jenn Abelson and Beth Daley) at the Boston Globe put genetic testing to some good use. Rather than trying to create Frankin seeds or mutant sheep, these reporters conducted a five-month study to see if local restaurants were really serving up the fish that you ordered. Their findings showed that 48% of the time fish were mislabeled. Moreover, Escolar known as the ex-lax fish was commonly substituted for Albacore Tuna. Escolar is a very oily fish that is commonly linked to gastrointestinal issues. When you get this substitution in your Sushi, there is likely a nasty night on the horizon. You could end up having to toss your pants, your dorm room bedding and a few other things if you aren’t careful. Is there any way for the average person to tell Escolar from Albacore?

Luckily there is. Both Albacore and Escolar are sold under a very dubious term, “White Tuna” or “Super White Tuna.” Albacore is the whitest of the Tuna but it is still pink to tan and even the belly meat still has a distinct tuna aftertaste. Remember that smell in your lunch box when you packed a tuna fish sandwich on a warm day? That smell/memory should bring a slightly metallic flavor to your palate. Ok, not so appetizing but Tuna is absolutely preferable to the alternative ex-lax fish.

Another way to tell the difference between the two fish is to look at the color and texture of the raw fish itself. Albacore is a more translucent pinkish fish and the tissue is striated into layers. These little white stripes are what make Tuna flake into sections when it is cooked. If you are eating a pale fish labeled “White tuna” at a sushi bar and you don’t see a hint of pink and striations in the tissue this should raise alarm bells. Escolar in contrast is a dense white opaque (you can’t see through it) type of fish that looks more like a solid piece of flesh. It looks a little bit like giant clam used in sushi if you know what that looks like. Escolar is also extremely buttery or greasy on the palate.

Part of the reason that Escolar (Lepidocybium flavobrunneum) has become popular is the confusion with the buttery belly meat of the Tuna that is called “Toro”. Toro sushi is extremely sought after and wickedly expensive because sushi chefs often have to bid against one another to get it. Escolar, by contrast is a cheap fish and an easy fish to pass off on unsuspecting customers (AKA college students and any other dumb Americans). Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in Japan is labeled as “Maguro” while “Ahi” refers to its fattier relative the Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares). Albacore (Thunnus alalunga) is also known as Ahi or as “Tombo Ahi”. Albacore is the lightest in color, the mildest in flavor and the softest out of the three tunas.

The belly section of the fish is further classified into regular Toro sushi and “Otoro” sushi. Otoro is the most expensive cut on any tuna and this comes from the very underside of the fish. It’s oilier (high content of Omega-3 fatty acids) than regular sushi tuna and lighter in color. Sounds a bit like Escolar doesn’t it? However Otoro, like all Tuna is pink to tan and includes the striations in the flesh.

According to Wikipedia, Escolar has been banned in Japan because the fish is considered toxic. Escolar can cause diarrhea and worse. The buttery consistency of the flesh is caused by wax esters that build up in the flesh of the fish as it grows. Our fat loving taste buds mistake the wax esters for fat and send signals to our brain: “delicious!” so we eat more. The sad fact is that many humans have problems digesting the wax esters. This causes Keriorrhea, think “it flows right though you.” According to Medellitin’s blog and a number of hilarious comments, eating Escolar can also cause headaches, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting. To think you were blaming it on the Sake! If stored improperly it can also lead to Scrombroid poisoning.

So if you like sushi but just can’t stand your Chem. lab look into some of the links above and I bet you will find yourself not only enjoying your sushi more but thinking that just maybe there is something useful in all this science torture you are enduring in college. As with most knowledge, what you don’t know can hurt you! Or at least leave you running for the bathroom.