Thanksgiving break is the perfect time to gobble up a great work of literature. Here are some of our favorite classics, all which come in budget editions and can be read in just a couple of hours. Grab a book to pass the time on your flight home or read to relax when you need some alone-time amidst so much food and family. And if none of these books appeals to you, try a different tome and remember that all reading is time well spent.
Month: November 2015
Thanksgiving on Campus
Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to get together with family, but many college students don’t have the time or money to trek home for the long weekend. If you’re one of the many students not heading back home, you don’t need to settle for a night of TV reruns and microwave mac and cheese. With these great ideas, your Thanksgiving at college can be one to appreciate and remember.
Go Home with a Friend Who Lives Close to Campus
You needn’t miss out on a traditional family Thanksgiving just because you can’t get to your home. Ask your roommate or another college friend what they’re doing for the holidays and see if you can wrangle an invitation. Spending Thanksgiving with friend’s family is a great way to bond with your college pals and experience many of the things that make Thanksgiving such a wonderful holiday. Remember to be a great guest and offer to help with the meal and dishes. Bringing a bottle of wine or a bunch of flowers or a dessert or side will also help win your hosts over.
Host a Friendsgiving Feast
It’s not just college students spending the holidays away from the family. The low-stress vibe of a Friendsgiving makes it a popular choice among young adults everywhere. A college dorm will never have the kitchen setup your mom does, but it’s possible to cook some holiday grub in your microwave. A small whole turkey stays moist in a microwaveable oven bag and cooking pumpkin pie in coffee mugs works surprisingly well. Don’t be afraid of boxed stuffing and canned cranberry sauce. With easy options like these, you’ll wonder why your mom spends hours toiling over a hot stove. Ask your guests to each bring a side dish and you’ll have more than enough food to trigger that sweet post-feast food coma.
Volunteer in Your Community
When you’re gorging on turkey and cheering on your favorite football team, it’s easy to forget what Thanksgiving is really about: community and gratitude. Volunteering will help you remember the real purpose for the holiday by reminding you of how fortunate you are and how we can all use (and give) a helping hand. Volunteer Match lists a range of different volunteering opportunities for Thanksgiving. If you can’t find anything that suits you, call a homeless shelter, animal rescue, or other nonprofit near your college campus and ask what you can do to help over the holidays.
Set Aside Some Personal Time
Consider your family-free Thanksgiving as an opportunity to have some you time. Unlike your peers, you don’t have to spend hours on an overcrowded plane or in gridlocked traffic. There’ll be no arguments with dodgy cousins or bratty younger siblings. And unlike most of the school year, there’s no expectation that you’ll be studying or working on assignments. So chill, breathe, and just enjoy it. Take time to read an actual non-homework novel, enjoy the solitude of a run through your deserted campus, and veg out with some of your favorite movies. Making the most of down time now will give you the healthy balance you need ahead of finals week.
Don’t let being away from your family ruin your Thanksgiving. See it as a gift and an opportunity and remember that there are plenty of ways to make the holiday season special while you’re at college.
Considering Private College Loans
In 2013, nearly 70 percent of graduating seniors left college with student-loan debt, debt that averaged nearly $30,000 per grad. Most young people can’t finish college without financial aid. If you are amongst those who need monetary assistance for your education, you first have to decide where to get it. Federal student loans offer an attractive option, but many students go with private college loans. Here’s what you need to know when comparing federal and private student loans.
What Is a Private College Loan?
The federal government offers regulated loans for students who need help paying for college and university tuition. Either the government or the school serves as the lender. A private college loan comes from a traditional financial institution, such as a bank or credit union. It’s not much different from a car loan or a mortgage except that you use the funds for tuition rather than a vehicle or a home. Federal student loans and private college loans share two things: both require you to pay back the loan and both allow you to defer payment until you graduate. Why, then, should you choose one over the other? Let’s touch on some deciding factors.
Most students are attracted to federal student loans because of the low interest rates. Even though they have to pay back the money, they don’t have to pay much on top of the principle. Private college loans, however, sometimes charge much more in interest. Your interest rate, however, depends largely on the risk you represent to the lender. If you or your parents have excellent credit, for instance, you might qualify for a private loan rate that equals (or betters) that of a federal loan.
To receive federal student loans, you must complete the FAFSA form. This document requires lots of data about you and your parents, including your bank statements, income, tax records, and other personal information. A private college loan might not demand this level of disclosure if you have a solid credit history. This could save you time and hassle while keeping sensitive information more private.
Federal student-loan programs limit the potential uses for the money you receive. Most programs allow you to use the money to pay for on-campus housing but not an off-campus apartment, for instance. If you need to get more creative with your student loan money, a private loan might prove more practical as it allows more choice and flexibility.
A federal student loan will offer more flexibility in terms of repayment and deferment. In rare cases, the federal government discharges or forgives loans based on specific circumstances. Additionally, you can defer your payments for a period of time if you meet certain criteria, such as long-term unemployment, returning to school, or serving in the military. You shouldn’t count on catching any of these breaks (and remember that deferred does not mean erased) but you should be aware of them.
Neither a federal student loan nor a private college loan represents the ideal choice for every student. When deciding how to pay for college, submit applications to multiple lenders and evaluate the response of each based on your needs. Get as many viable funding options as possible and sit down with your family (and anyone else involved in your college finances) and compare the pros and cons of each offer head to head.
Unusual College Majors & Their Courses
Most young people entering college have little idea of how to achieve their dream jobs or even what might be available to them in terms of courses, majors, and careers. Ask any college grad and he or she will have plenty of “I wish I’d known then what I know now” advice for you, not least of which is about what he or she could have pursued in terms of a degree. The bottom line is that you have more options than you think and just because something is unusual or out there doesn’t mean that you can’t major in it and find a related job. Here are some quirky majors to help you better understand what’s available and where and what to do with it.